Louisiana Dialysis Caregivers and Volunteers Brace for Hurricane Gustav; Prepare to Maintain Power, Continued Access for Patients to Life-Saving Treatment

Saturday, August 30, 2008 General News
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 29 With the highest per capitapopulation of kidney failure patients in the nation, the Gulf Coast region isbracing to avoid a potential healthcare crisis as Hurricane Gustav nears,threatening to disrupt the administration of area patients' lifesavingdialysis treatments. For these patients, dialysis is a necessary process tolive -- involving a specialized machine to circulate and cleanse the blood andan on-site medical technician to oversee the treatment -- and if only a few oftheir thrice-weekly treatments are missed, their blood will become toxic andhighly lethal.

In order to prepare for this pending disaster scenario, the Gulf Coastkidney community is working vigorously with area doctors, nurses, dialysistechnicians and others through the national Kidney Care Partners (KCP) networkto ensure that any patients in need of care as the storm potentially hits arequickly located, identified and prepared for their treatments. This includesworking with hundreds of local volunteers to:

"We are impressed by and proud to be involved with the Gulf Region kidneycommunity's advance readiness to ensure that its kidney patients will be wellcared for during this potential weather crisis," said Dr. Ed Jones, apracticing nephrologist and Chairman of KCP. "Because thrice-weekly dialysistreatments can never stop for ESRD patients, a high level of coordinationamong physicians, providers, patients, caregivers and other volunteers -- likethat seen here in Louisiana -- to provide continuous high-quality care iscritical."

Many of the nation's dialysis facility and equipment providers, such asDaVita and Fresenius, have set up dedicated toll free hotlines to help GulfCoast region patients and their families who may potentially be displaced bythe storm locate nearby open clinics, schedule dialysis treatments and arrangealternative transportation as needed.

If you are a kidney disease patient or family member interested in findingout more information, please call one of the following dialysis providerpatient disaster hotlines dedicated to area preparations: (800) 400-8331(DaVita), (800) 626-1297 (Fresenius).

About Kidney Care Partners

Kidney Care Partners is an alliance of patient advocates, dialysisprofessionals, providers and manufacturers working together to improve thequality of care for individuals with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). For moreinformation, visit www.kidneycarepartners.org.-- Prepare the use of high-capacity electrical generators with the capability to power area dialysis machines at full functioning ability -- Ensure extra medical supplies are on hand in case of vendor transportation issues -- Communicate to patients that their dialysis care will still be available in the event of Hurricane Gustav striking locally -- Identify alternate dialysis locations for any potentially damaged centers -- Move fuel, extra generators and mobile homes to Louisiana to serve as temporary housing for facility staff if necessary -- Arrange transportation for patients and dialysis facility staff in need of assistance

SOURCE Kidney Care Partners

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