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List of dialysis centres: Croatia: even as a dialysis patient on a holiday cruise?

For many patients with chronic kidney disease, it is important to remain mobile and to be able to continue to go on holiday cruises with their own or chartered boat and thus maintain their independence. Even though travelling as a dialysis patient requires good planning and special precautions, it is also possible for these people to travel.

If a patient has typical symptoms of excessive accumulation of toxins in the body, dialysis is performed. According to the portal internisten-im-netz.de, this may also be indicated if other signs of illness, such as pericarditis or inflamed skin, are discovered during the examination by the doctor.

Very high urea and creatinine levels in the blood may also make dialysis necessary. Finally, dialysis can also be life-saving if a person has been poisoned and their organs are unable to remove the toxic substances from their body in time.

SeaHelp has recently received a number of enquiries on this topic, as sports skippers are also affected by typical complaints that make dialysis necessary. They ask themselves: Can I actually travel by boat with dialysis?

The dialysis procedure usually has to be repeated throughout the patient’s life, as the body is constantly producing toxins

First of all, it is important to clarify what dialysis actually is: dialysis is a procedure that can be used to remove toxic substances from a person’s blood if their kidneys are no longer able to do this on their own – so much for the good news. The less good news is that the procedure usually has to be repeated throughout a person’s life, as the body continues to produce toxins.

And: in haemodialysis (blood washing with a machine), the patient’s blood circulation is connected to an “artificial kidney”. This device is called a haemodialysis machine and cleans the patient’s blood. The actual blood purification takes place in the dialyser, the filter of this machine.

This means that patients are tied to the presence of a corresponding haemo-dialysis machine. In other words, if they want to travel, they can only choose holiday destinations where the appropriate equipment is available and there are also free appointments for treatment.

Dialysis patients on holiday cruises must ensure that there are marinas or harbours near a dialysis centre

This applies equally to sports skippers and land-based holidaymakers, and holidaymakers who spend their free time on a boat must also be able to call at ports or marinas that are close to a dialysis centre.

Specifically with regard to Croatia, it should be noted that there are sometimes long waiting times at the respective centres specialising in dialysis, which must be planned for accordingly. It is also important to note that not every Croatian centre is suitable for the required dialysis.

SeaHelp therefore advises you to draw up a small checklist for yourself, which should be “worked through” in good time before the holiday trip: first of all, you should clarify in advance with your own dialysis centre at home which centres are suitable for your holiday. You could then draw up a rough holiday plan for the trip in advance.

A checklist can help to plan and ensure dialysis in the holiday destination

Then, also in advance, contact the relevant dialysis centre in the holiday destination and clarify which filters are available locally. Information should also be obtained about the specific dates available. Only then – and after a fixed appointment has been made – should the trip be “fine-tuned” and finally finalised.

The Croatian Society of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation of the Croatian Medical Chamber (HDNDT), the umbrella organisation of doctors who treat patients with kidney disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure, has published a list of available dialysis centres in Croatia online.

 

List of dialysis centres in Croatia (www.hdndt.org)
Screenshot: www.hdndt.org

 

The Croatian Medical Chamber has published a list of dialysis centres – many of which are located along the coastline of the Croatian Adriatic

At www.hdndt.org (English translation | Google), a total of 21 dialysis centres are listed along the coastline of the Croatian Adriatic, from Umag in the north to Korcula in the south. The exact address as well as e-mail, telephone and fax contacts are given for each centre. A further 21 centres are located inland according to the map.

If you follow the short checklist above, it should be possible for most dialysis patients to spend a carefree holiday in Croatia by boat and continue their necessary treatment there.

However, it is always important to consult your doctor at home before making any concrete travel plans. It is also important to pack a sufficient quantity of medication.

If a patient wishes to have private home HD treatment at an inpatient location, it should be ensured in advance that the necessary equipment and consumables are at the destination before the traveller arrives.

It is also possible to arrange with a dialysis centre (or the health insurance company) at the destination to carry out haemodialysis in their facilities. In this case, you should contact your health insurance provider in advance to find out whether and how “holiday dialysis” is covered.

It is recommended to take all personal information and medication data with you

It is recommended to take all personal information and medication data with you in any case, including (in addition to the insurance card) above all a list of medication and allergies as well as all necessary treatment instructions.

In general, you should make a complete list of all the materials you need for the treatment in question and which you need to take with you. For home HD patients, it is also important to plan well in advance (a lead time of two months is recommended) to ensure that certain supplies arrive on time or that changes can be made in good time.

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