May 2022 update: Please note that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the DAFB system. Complying with isolation guidance for patients who have dialysed away from their usual unit helps keep people safe but can be a challenge for many units. It is particularly important to contact your home unit before planning your trip, to confirm arrangements upon your return following your DAFB. Read the latest DAFB guidelines published by professional and patient kidney societies.
If you would like to speak to one of our Advocacy Officers about the best way to work with your unit to plan DAFB, please get in touch with Kidney Care UK.
Everyone with kidney disease should be able to live life to the full. Holidays and respite breaks can help to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing. However, if you need dialysis, there are certain things to consider when organising a holiday or any kind of travelling.
This page provides advice on having dialysis away from your normal location, whether that’s at home or at a different hospital. It's also available as a downloadable leaflet. If you'd like to order a printed copy, please see our leaflets and booklets page.
What do I need to consider before I travel?
For people receiving haemodialysis, dialysis is required at least three times a week, or daily for peritoneal dialysis. As a result of the frequency that dialysis is needed, you need to have a planned way of receiving dialysis while you are away. This is known as Dialysis Away From Base (DAFB).
Renal unit providers are responsible for helping people on dialysis to arrange their DAFB, and to openly share when dialysis slots are available. However, DAFB requires extra planning, for example arranging hospital paperwork and booking available dialysis slots near to the location you are travelling to or staying at. Because of the varying availability of haemodialysis slots, it can be difficult to find one that’s available when you need it.
As dialysis capacity at some locations is scarce, you may have to consider dialysis further away from your initial destination. It is therefore important to book as far in advance as possible.
What is Kidney Care UK Dialysis Freedom?
Kidney Care UK Dialysis Freedom is a FREE support service to help with the planning and arranging of Dialysis Away from Base in the UK. Whether for a holiday, to join a family celebration, or for a work trip, being able to take break is an important part of living live to the full.
DAFB is available to all kidney patients from the NHS, and this is organised directly by your renal unit. However, the forward planning, coordination and availability of haemodialysis slots can make this a challenging and overwhelming experience.
Kidney Care UK Dialysis Freedom is here to help you every step of the way. The service will handle all the arrangements and administration so you only have to prepare as you would for any other trip and focus on the benefits of your break.
How much does DAFB cost?
In the UK there is no cost to you as a patient to receive DAFB. The dialysis treatment cost is covered by the NHS local commissioning groups via the renal tariff.
What if I am on peritoneal dialysis?
If you are on peritoneal dialysis, it is normally possible to go away for a few days or on holiday. Exchanges can be done anywhere clean with a sink. Additionally, your dialysis team may be able to arrange for your fluid to be sent to where you are staying in the UK, or you may be able to take supplies with you if you’re going on a short trip. Speak to your unit or the company that supplies your fluid to arrange this.
You will need to confirm with your destination that they are happy to receive a clinical supplies delivery on your behalf. This should be arranged to arrive 2 days before you arrive at your destination, and is generally organised by your fluid provider.
I’d like to have a holiday, where are some places I could visit?
While you can try to arrange DAFB at any renal unit in the UK, not all of them will have the capacity to accept requests for when you wish to travel. There are however some dedicated holiday renal units in popular destinations that are focused on providing dialysis for those looking for a holiday or respite break. The capacity at these, especially when booking in advance, is usually better to accommodate your trip.
Can I fly in the UK if I’m on dialysis?
Yes, but it is important to plan flights around dialysis days. You should not miss a dialysis treatment in order to travel. If you need to travel on a particular day then speak to your dialysis unit as they may be able to rearrange your usual session.
Make sure that you take enough medications with you to cover your stay, including EPO injections. If possible, take more medication than you need in case you get delayed. It is a good idea to carry your repeat prescription with you with details of your prescribed medications.
The holiday unit will usually give you advice about anything you need to bring with you.
What happens if, after arranging dialysis elsewhere, I cancel my trip or come home early?
If you cancel your holiday or return on a different date and need to dialyse in your usual hospital unit, you must let your dialysis team know as soon as possible. This is so they can arrange your usual dialysis and stop you from missing an appointment.
What else should I be aware of about DAFB in the UK?
You can access DAFB as many times as you would like to. If you are away for over one month, your renal consultant will arrange for a handover of your clinical care.
DAFB slots must be booked in advance of your trip, otherwise there may not be capacity to provide you with the care you need.
If you are travelling in England, and you are eligible for free transport to your dialysis appointments, in some circumstances local ambulance transport may be an option.