The Greater New Orleans area currently remains without consistent infrastructure (e.g., electricity, safe water, gasoline, etc.) People, including many dialysis patients have evacuated due to the catastrophic damage secondary to Hurricane KATRINA! There are dialysis units that are open or opening in areas outside of New Orleans, but we caution dialysis patients to consider issues such as the limited power, safe water, and available transportation (remember limited available gasoline for autos, trucks, etc.) prior to returning to New Orleans.
- The dialysis community outside of these impacted areas can expect ongoing communications requesting transient dialysis services as patients travel. Please note that consistent phone service in Louisiana remains problematic, especially in the 504, 985, 225 area codes. Calls can generally be received, but calling back remains challenging.
- Patients may still present to dialysis units without advance contact or medical records since conditions are evolving. Patients with no records CAN STILL BE TREATED. All that is required is for a physician to write dialysis orders. Please be aware that it appears that this situation may be long-term and that the Network is doing everything we can to assist in the efforts to help the dialysis patients and providers in the affected areas.
- If the patients’ HbsAg status is unknown, provide treatment as potentially positive. If these patients are admitted for treatment before results of HBsAg or anti-HBs testing are known, these patients shall undergo treatment as if the HbsAg test results were positive, except that they shall not be treated in the HbsAg isolation room, area, or machine.
Hurricanes KATRINA / RITA Aftermath
The Network has been made aware of an issue that needs attention. There are dialysis patients who evacuated from Louisiana secondary to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It is our understanding that FEMA has notified folks that their funds for hotel/motel accommodations will cease as of December 1, 2005. This notification has appeared to start a migration of dialysis patients back to their home units in Louisiana.
It is important to note that some of their home units remain closed and that the units that are open in the greater New Orleans area are functioning under major limitations of stations and staffing. The Network is in the process of updating open New Orleans dialysis unit status to assist in patient placement issues. Furthermore, housing for returnees is problematic or non-existent, even if they can dialyze at their home unit.
1) Dialysis Services Placement Issues…
If you are serving hurricane evacuees in your units, please ask them to notify you of their intent for long-term housing (i.e., relocating there, moving home, moving into a shelter, etc.). In the event that they are moving home, it is critical to request that any of these patients ask for your assistance in their dialysis services placement back home (especially if New Orleans) or wherever they may be relocating. We know that patients are showing back up in New Orleans not having received treatments for up to 8 days. This appears to an educational and/or communication issue and we’d like you to know that the Network is available to assist in patient placement as possible. Patients can utilize the 1.800.472.8664 toll-free number for patient placement assistance.
2) Patient Funding Resources…
- AMERICAN KIDNEY FUND (www.kidneyfund.org) 1-800-638-8299
- NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION (www.kidney.org) 1-800-622-091
- AAKP (No Longer Available) 1-800-749-2257
The aftermath of the hurricanes continues to be faced daily by many people. The Network remains available to assist as possible. Please share this information with your social workers. Thanks for your ongoing efforts to provide quality care to the ESRD patients in Network 13.