Emergencies caused by severe weather or disasters can happen with or without warning. If you need dialysis, having power, water, transportation and supplies is very important. Some emergencies may make it impossible to get to your dialysis unit. It is important to be prepared and to have a plan.
If you are at home and uninjured, you should stay at home unless instructed by emergency personnel. Watch Television or listen to the radio for any news about your area. For weather related emergencies, you may have some time before the worst hits. Be aware of any weather watches/warning in your area and prepare yourself.
Sometimes an emergency will require you to leave your home and evacuate to a shelter on short notice. Remember to take your emergency diet items and your necessary medicines, which should be stored in a bag or tote that can be easily carried. Once at the shelter, alert the staff about your medical needs.
You should begin a survival diet once an emergency occurs. ONLY 2 CUPS of fluid in 24 hours. No fresh fruits or vegetables. If you canít get dialysis, your life can depend on limiting the amount of waste that builds up in your blood by changing your diet. You need to limit your protein (meat, fish, poultry, and eggs), potassium (fruits and vegetables), salt and fluid intake. You should follow the Three Day Emergency Diet.
You should make every attempt to get dialysis in three days. But if it takes longer be sure to continue on the 3-Day Emergency Diet Plan until you can get your dialysis treatment.
An Emergency at the Dialysis Center
The Dialysis Center has comprehensive emergency guidelines to keep you safe. When you begin dialysis a health care team member will explain what to do if an emergency situation occurs. If you would like a reminder, ask a member of your health care team what emergency procedures are in place.
If an emergency occurs, wait for instructions from health care team members. Your safety is their concern. In the rare and unlikely event health care team members are unable to provide instructions and you must disconnect your access yourself, there is an emergency disconnect pack attached to the side of your dialysis machine that should be within your reach. It contains the needed items to get off dialysis. Disconnecting your access improperly can be extremely dangerous. Ask your nurse to show you what to do if you must disconnect your access yourself using the clamp and cut procedure.
Clamp and Cut Procedure:
Clamp the two clamps on your fistula needle.
Clamps the two clamps on the blood lines.
Twist and disconnect the fistula needle from the blood lines. If you cannot disconnect manual, cut the line on the blood line side (cut ONLY the thicker blood line). NEVER EVER cut the access needle line.
What will happen to my dialysis schedule in weather emergencies?
Possibly in severe weather conditions, dialysis staff may not be able to continue your individual schedule and orders. They may need to use emergency procedures, which may include a standard dialyzer and a shorter treatment time. Every attempt will made to give you the most appropriate treatment.
In the incidences of an impending blizzard or hurricane, the dialysis center will be closed during the day of the actual storm. If we are given notice of the impeding storm, dialysis schedules will be re-arranged to have patients that would normally dialyze the day of the actual storm to come for a treatment the day before or the day after. The staff at the dialysis center will need to adjust every ones schedule to accommodate the safety of everyone. Your scheduled time to dialyze may be changed and your schedule treatment time may be shortened slightly. Please allow for extra time during these situations and please be patient.
During snow emergencies the dialysis schedule may be shortened to make sure patients can arrive home before the majority of snow fall hits. There also maybe times, the dialysis schedule will be delayed for example, to allow patients to wait for snow to be removed from the roadways. In general the dialysis unit will not make any changes for snow fall that is less than 6 inches. If in doubt, call the center before driving to the center.
What are my responsibilities?
It is your responsibility to keep a current list of your medications and dosages and carry it with you. Also keep a week supply of medicines and diet needs at home.
Make share you inform the dialysis center of any changes in your phone number and address. Make sure the dialysis unit has your emergency contact number.
Make sure you have the phone number of the dialysis center. Keep a copy of your important medical information at your home and your job. Update the information often.
What supplies should I have?
A week supply of medications
A battery-powered AM/FM radio and extra batteries
Diabetics need to have enough insulin and supplies on hand (glucometer and batteries) Emergency phone list
Flash light with extra batteries
Candles and matches
A first aid kit
A fire extinguisher
Emergency diet supplies
Plastic forks, spoons, knives, plates, bowls and cups
Be prepared with a Three Day Food Emergency Diet
Just in case you are without electricity or unable to replenish your food supplies, this emergency food supply will help you to sustain your strength, health, and spirits.
These food items should be stored in an emergency box or kit:
3 packages of dry milk or 4 8-oz cans of evaporated milk
1-2 gallons of distilled or bottled water
2 packages of powdered fruit flavored drink or 1 large bottle of pre-mixed fruit flavored drink
1-2 cans or bottles of soda (no dark soda/cola)
6 boxes of single serve cereal (no Raisin Bran)
1 6-pack childrenís juice boxes (6oz containers)
1 box of sugar, sugar packets, or artificial sweetener 12 4-oz containers of canned fruit.
8 small cans of unsalted tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey
1 jar of peanut butter
3 small jars of mayonnaise (a new jar needs to be opened each day due to spoilage)
1 loaf of white bread (can be stored in the freezer for three months)
1 box of vanilla wafers or graham crackers 4-6 bags of hard candy or gummies (no chocolate) 1 package of marshmallows.
1 jar of honey or jelly
Fresh food that you have already can be used first, before it goes bad.
When a widespread emergency occurs if you are at home and uninjured, you should stay home unless instructed by emergency personnel to leave.
Watch television or listen to the radio for any news about your area.
For weather related emergencies, you may have some time before the worst hits. Be aware of any weather watches in your area and prepare yourself for the worst scenario.
Sometimes an emergency will require you to leave your home and evacuate to a shelter on short notice. Remember to take your emergency diet items and your emergency medicines, which should be stored in a bag or tote which can be easily carried. Once at the shelter, alert the personnel about your medical needs.
Steps to Prepare for emergency an Emergency
Step 1: Gather and Carry Important Medical information. A. Know your medical history.
B. Know your dialysis regime: dialyzer, access, dialysate, and medications
C. Know your allergies
Step 2: Ask you facility about how to find out about alternative arrangements for dialysis
Step 3: Prepare an emergency stock of supplies, food, and medicine.
Step 4: Know what diet to follow if your dialysis must be delayed.