WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, has activated its Emergency Response Team to begin implementing plans to ensure continued patient care across the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, which may be affected by the storm.
The Fresenius Medical Care Disaster Response Team, assisted by divisional, technical and regional employees, works closely with local governments and community organizations such as the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition to prepare for and respond quickly to a variety of disasters. FMCNA and its partners are ready to deliver generators, fuel, bottled water and meals to facilities and employees affected by this storm. FMCNA staff is also providing extra treatment shifts for patients at clinics anticipated to be affected by Hurricane Sandy, including clinics that may be required to close by state officials.
Patients seeking help with emergency plans or more information about arranging alternate dialysis clinics should call FMCNA’s toll-free Patient Emergency Hotline: 1-800-626-1297.
FMCNA recommends that dialysis patients have the following plans in place:
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy. When bad weather threatens, contact your local dialysis facility and follow their instructions.
- Have a disaster plan. Talk to your doctor, dialysis care team and family about what you should do if a disaster strikes. Keep track of local weather forecasts.
- Gather emergency supplies. Have a first-aid kit on hand, along with a flashlight (with extra batteries), blankets, battery-powered radio, cell phone, non-electric can opener and any necessary medications.
- Make sure you have a ride. If you are an in-center patient, arrange for backup transportation to the clinic with a friend, neighbor or family member.
- Plan for power outages. If you are a home dialysis patient and you lose power, follow the directions given to you by the home training staff for continuing dialysis in an emergency.
- Adjust your insulin. If you are diabetic, ask your doctor how to adjust your insulin dosage if severe flooding is forecast for your area.
While storms and other natural disasters can be inconvenient and even life-threatening for entire communities, they pose an especially serious health threat to dialysis patients whose treatments are delayed by electrical power outages or inability to access their normal treatment locations. Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) typically need dialysis treatment every two days to clean waste products from their blood, remove extra fluids and control their bodies’ chemistry after their kidneys have failed.
Most FMCNA dialysis clinics are equipped with emergency backup electrical generators to ensure that critical patient care continues in the event of a power outage. If necessary, dialysis treatments also can be provided at alternate facilities for patients – including those from other dialysis companies – whose regular clinics are temporarily unavailable.
“Advance preparation helps us to ensure uninterrupted dialysis treatments for our patients,” said Bill Numbers, FMCNA Vice President of Operations Support and Incident Commander for Disaster Response and Planning. “FMCNA’s resources and national partnerships give us the ability to coordinate the delivery of resources from across the country to any locale within hours of a disaster.”
FMCNA’s disaster response plan has been tested and validated many times in recent years, from Hurricanes Ike, Isaac and Katrina to tornados, floods and severe thunderstorms. When such events occur, FMCNA coordinates efforts across all levels of the company, ensuring the ability of staff to provide patients with dialysis treatments, equipment and supplies, medicines and lab services.
For more information on FMCNA’s natural disaster response efforts and important tips to help patients prepare for any emergency, visit FMCNA’s Emergency Preparedness website.
About Fresenius Medical Care
Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) is the world’s leading company devoted to patient-centered renal therapy. Through more than 3,119 clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, we provide kidney dialysis treatments to approximately 253,000 patients worldwide. We are also the world’s leading maker of dialysis products, such as dialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Chronic kidney failure is a condition that affects more than 2.1 million individuals worldwide. For more information about the company’s more than 2,100 U.S. dialysis facilities, visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish). For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit www.fmc-ag.com or www.fmcna.com.