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Helping Dialysis Patients Prepare For Emergencies

Armen Hareyan's picture

Dialysis Patients

Coping with emergencies and power outages is a challenge for most residents, but it becomes even more complicated when you are a dialysis patient. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services today released new resources to help individuals on dialysis plan for and respond to emergency situations.

More than 5,800 residents in Missouri require dialysis treatment every three to four days, and during emergencies it could be a challenge to find a dialysis center or back-up facility. Even as important is the need for them to continue their crucial medications on a daily basis. In addition, transportation to a dialysis center can be problem. Without regular dialysis and medications, these individuals could face a life-threatening situation.

"To assist individuals on dialysis face future emergencies, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services developed new tools to help these Missourians sustain themselves during all types of emergencies," said Jane Drummond, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "To reach this important group, Missouri dialysis facilities are receiving a package of Ready in 3 resources. Facilities will be asked to share the materials with their patients and families." The resources include a checklist and family safety guide that details important information and Internet tools such as a three-day emergency diet added to its Ready in 3 web site at www.dhss.mo.gov.

These materials are part of the department's Ready in 3 emergency preparedness program. The Ready in 3 emergency preparedness initiative reminds Missourians of what they can do at home, school and work to prepare for all types of emergencies. "We can't predict what will happen, but we can be prepared," said Drummond. Disasters can happen at any time or any place, and Ready in 3 provides three simple steps to prepare for an emergency situation:

1. Create a plan for you, your family, and your business.

2. Prepare an emergency kit for your home, car and at work. If an emergency happens, you might not be able to get food or water for days or even weeks, and your electricity may not be working. The following items should be part of a dialysis patient's emergency kit and kept in a container that can be easily carried:

* 5-7 day supply of all your medicine(s)

* 5-day supply of antibiotics (if you use peritoneal dialysis and recommended by your doctor)

* Diuretics (fluid pills), sorbitol and Kayexalate for potassium control (if recommended by your doctor)

* Measuring cups, teaspoons and tablespoons, dropper

* Sharp knife

* Plastic jug for storing water

* Piece of cloth, cheesecloth or handkerchief

* Strainer

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* Dry milk OR evaporated milk

* Distilled or bottled water

* Soda

* Fruit juice (cranberry, apple or grape)

* Cereal (no raisin bran)

* White sugar (or box of sugar packets)

* Canned fruit (pears, peaches, oranges, mixed fruit, applesauce, or pineapple. NO raisins).

* Canned low sodium vegetables (carrots, green beans, peas, corn, or wax beans)

* Canned low sodium meat (tuna, crab, chicken, salmon or turkey)

* Mayonnaise

* Bread (not salt-free with NO preservatives)

* Vanilla wafers OR graham crackers

* Candy (sourballs, hard candy, jelly beans or mints)

* Marshmallows

* Chewing gum

3. Listen for information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency. City, county, and state officials have developed emergency plans. In the event of an actual emergency, it's important to follow their instructions and advice.