Holidaying with home haemodialysis

Patients have a few options when looking to take a holiday:

1. The dialysis machine can be taken with the patients to the holiday destination.

2. Gain a spot on the Big Red Kidney Bus, a mobile dialysis unit – for details, click here

3. Seek a spot in a satellite dialysis unit located near the holiday destination. For further details, see the section below entitled ‘Holidaying with satellite haemodialysis.’

Holidaying with peritoneal dialysis

Within Australia

Short holidays like long weekends are as easy as packing the equipment patients require for dialysis and setting off. Medium to longer-term holidays are still very easy but will take a bit more planning.

Dialysis fluid can be delivered anywhere in Australia at no cost to the patient however the supplier will require extra time to make the arrangements. It is recommended that the fluids are delivered to a patient’s before they go on holiday, and for someone to personally accept the delivery. Most accommodation services will do this if requested in advance.

A medical letter and a dialysis letter should also be arranged so that in case of an emergency, another medical facility will have information about the patient’s renal failure.  The letters will contain contact names to gain further information if required.

The patient will be given the address of the hospital nearest to their holiday destination that deals with peritoneal dialysis so that they have contact names and telephone numbers if required.


Overseas holidays are more involved and more time is required to organise supplies. This should be planned at least three months in advance and the freight charge to the overseas destination will be payable by the patient. An estimate of that cost will be given prior to delivery.

Overnight cycler machines cannot go overseas due to varying arrangements for maintenance in different countries, so fluid for manual exchanges is the only fluid that can be authorised for overseas delivery and use. Six weeks is normally the maximum period that fluid can be authorised in advance for any one year.

Holidaying with satellite haemodialysis

With proper planning, patients can take holidays whilst on haemodialysis. It is recommended that patients:

1. Notify their main haemodialysis unit when planning to go on holiday
2. Organise a medical letter from the nephrologist detailing the renal condition and current treatment
3. Take a sufficient quantity of medications.

Within Australia

The key is to plan ahead, well in advance, particularly for school and end of year holidays.

The patient’s ‘home’ haemodialysis unit will send the patient’s haemodialysis treatment details to the destination holiday satellite unit, usually one month before departure.

There are 242 haemodialysis units across Australia covering all states and territories. Most are associated with public hospitals and are provided free of charge. Some are private facilities and may charge the patient a fee for each treatment.

Please note that despite these facilities being available, holiday spots can be difficult to obtain due to local demand and limited resources. As such, it is suggested that patients do not pay for travel or accommodation until a haemodialysis site for the holiday is confirmed.


Satellite haemodialysis, again subject to availability, can be free of charge where reciprocal arrangements exist between the Australian Government and other countries. Currently, Australia has arrangements with Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, The Republic of Ireland, The United Kingdom and The Netherlands.  For details, telephone Medicare on 13 20 11.

For countries not listed above, arrangements for free haemodialysis service do not generally exist, and the overseas unit will charge the patient a fee.

Useful links


For patient information on the abovementioned that you can download, please refer to our main page here