Climate Change Preparedness

 

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Climate change is occurring, and with it are likely to come changing patterns of disease.

The frequency of extreme weather is predicted to increase in coming decades due to climate change. Damage to property and interruption of critical infrastructure (e.g. power, water, transportation and telecommunication) poses significant risk to chronic medical patients who depend on their access to functioning health services.

Dialysis patients are among the most vulnerable, due to the potentially life-threatening impact of missed dialysis.

To effectively prepare, the dialysis community must develop and regularly review fire, flood and heat disaster plans. These must include pre-disaster identification of partner dialysis facilities able to accommodate evacuees, and robust methods for contacting patients prior to and during disasters.

For dialysis patients from vulnerable communities, on-going education should be provided regarding the importance of early evacuation and appropriate fluid and dietary restrictions, should dialysis be unavailable.

Each dialysis patient should have a personal evacuation plan, and a pre-prepared emergency supply kit.