WALTHAM, Mass.—In anticipation of Winter Storm Nemo, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) has activated its Emergency Response Team to begin implementing plans to ensure continued patient care throughout areas in the Northeast 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 and other supplies to facilities and employees affected by this storm. FMCNA staff are also providing extra treatment shifts for patients at clinics anticipated to be affected by the storm, 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 instruction
- 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 forecasted 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 and remove extra fluids.
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 Dr. Babajide Salako, director of Corporate Operations Support, FMCNA. “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 Sandy and Isaac 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.