In anticipation of Tropical Storm Karen, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, has activated its Incident Command Team to begin implementing plans to ensure continued patient care throughout the Gulf Coast, which may be affected by the storm.
While storms and other natural disasters can be inconvenient and even life-threatening for entire communities, they pose an especially serious health threat to dialysis patients whose treatments are delayed by flooding, electrical power outages or an inability to access their normal treatment locations. Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) typically need dialysis treatment every two days to clean waste products from their blood and remove extra fluids because their kidneys have failed.
The Fresenius Medical Care Incident Command Team, assisted by divisional, technical and regional employees, works closely with local governments and community organizations such as the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition to prepare for and respond quickly to a variety of disasters. FMCNA is ready to deliver a variety of supplies, including generators, fuel, bottled water and meals, to facilities and employees affected by this storm. FMCNA staff are also providing extra treatment shifts for patients at clinics anticipated to be affected by the storm, including clinics that may be required to close.
Patients seeking help with emergency plans or more information about arranging treatment at alternate dialysis clinics should call their local facility.FMCNA recommends that dialysis patients have the following plans in place:
- Phone numbers. Keep an emergency contacts list, and call your dialysis facility when bad weather threatens.
- Disaster plan. Talk to your dialysis care team and family ahead of time about what to do in a disaster. Monitor local weather forecasts.
- Emergency supplies. Pre-pack a first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, blankets, radio, cell phone, food, can opener and medications.
- Transportation. In-center patients should arrange with a friend, neighbor or family member for backup transportation to their clinic.
- Power outages. Home dialysis patients should follow the directions given during home training for continuing dialysis in an emergency.
- Adjust insulin. Diabetics should ask their doctor how to adjust their insulin dosage if severe flooding or storms are forecast for their area.