Natural disasters and dialysis care in the Asia-Pacific

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Abstract

The impact of natural disasters on the provision of dialysis services has received increased attention in the last decade following Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans in 2005. The Asia-Pacific is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons (also known as cyclones and hurricanes) or storms and flooding. These events can seriously interrupt provision of haemodialysis with adverse effects for patients including missed dialysis, increased hospitalization and post-traumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, haemodialysis patients may need to relocate and experience prolonged periods of displacement from family and social supports. In contrast to haemodialysis, most literature suggests peritoneal dialysis in a disaster situation is more easily managed and supported. It has become apparent that dialysis units and patients should be prepared for a disaster event and that appropriate planning will result in reduced confusion and adverse outcomes should a disaster occur. Numerous resources are now available to guide dialysis units, patients and staff in preparation for a possible disaster. This article will examine the disaster experiences of dialysis units in the Asia-Pacific, the impact on patients and staff, methods employed to manage during the disaster and suggested plans for reducing the impact of future disasters.

SUMMARY AT A GLANCE

This paper is a timely review of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific and the provision of urgent dialysis care, including local experience and impact on patients and staff.

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