Travel for Kidney Patients
Dialysis Away from Base (DAFB)
Travel for dialysis patients can be a real challenge while there is still a risk of Covid infections, as arranging dialysis away from base (DAFB) can be daunting, difficult and time consuming. As a result, travel for most patients is very limited. As the government loosens Covid restrictions, most of the population will regain their freedom to roam. But for many dialysis patients, unless changes are made, there is a risk that life may continue to feel like a permanent lockdown.
One of the key barriers to patient freedom is the difficulty that dialysis units have in safely and compliantly handling the transfer of care. For example:
If another renal unit agrees to accept you for dialysis, you will need to have a negative covid-19 swab before you go there. If this swab is positive, your planned dialysis may be cancelled at short notice.
It is possible that at short notice the SKU may not be able to recommend going on holiday or that that the dialysis sessions arranged at your holiday destination are no longer available. This would be the case if there are cases of Covid-19 in the Sussex Kidney Unit or in the holiday dialysis unit that you are planning to visit.
On returning from holiday, all patients will need to dialyse in Covid-19 isolation for 2 weeks, this would be provided in your own unit (apart from Worthing which has no isolation facilities and you would need to have dialysis in Brighton). Therefore it is necessary to limit the number of people that can go away at any one time, as there are a limited small number of side rooms to isolate you on your return. Therefore you will need to get agreement from the SKU that we have this provision to look after you and the other patients safely, before you arrange the holiday. It may not always be possible to accommodate the dates that you request.
If your holiday includes a visit to a dialysis unit in an area with a high risk of blood borne virus infection, isolated dialysis would be extended to 8 weeks.
An organisation known as DialysisAway aims to fix the DAFB process, so that dialysis patients have the same freedom to travel as everyone else – not just for a week in the sun, but for short breaks to see family and friends, and to work.
DialysisAway are working with the NHS and kidney patient organisations to develop solutions for improved freedom for all dialysis patients. To do this, they want to hear from patients about their experiences with arranging dialysis away from base. It is known this issue is important to many patients, but other surveys do not focus of this aspect of life on dialysis, and as a result there is a lack of formal patient feedback on this key issue. The NKF kindly supported this initiative by launching the survey in the latest In Touch newsletter.
You are encouraged to take part in the survey, which is very short and only takes a few minutes to complete. The survey findings will be used to ensure the attention of policy makers on dialysis patient freedom. Thank you.
This is the link to the survey:
If you have any further questions about dialysis away from base, please ask:
Victoria Ingham and Sarah Lawman Renal Consultants,
Emma Gillingham Renal Matron,
Jenny Widgery Lead Nurse for Dialysis