For people on dialysis eating within dietary guidelines during an emergency can be difficult. MREs and most canned food (soups, stew, etc.) are very high in sodium. The Renal Emergency diet, which is almost always put forward as a three day bridge for those on an incenter schedule who miss one treatment, is designed to meet minimal nutrition requirements but how many of us have this ingrediant list on hand? And if you do have this diet stored, are you using and replacing these supplies as a way to keep them unexpired?
I think there is an easier option. All three of the Emergency Bars featured in this taste test are Coast Guard approved and are renal-ly equivalent to the suggested three day Emergency Renal Diet. I tried one last month (the lowest rated, the ER Bar) it’s not bad, kind of a peanut butter smell with a plain dense cracker taste. Not at all bad with coffee. And being Coast Guard approved they are very low salt since you don’t want to get thirsty if you find yourself adrift in a life raft.
Talking to Katy, the Northwest Kidney Centers go to dietitian on all things renal, she has priced out our currently suggested emergency renal diet and remembered it being more expensive then the per calorie price of the ER Bars. In addition, the ER Bar has a shelf life advantage and Katy gave the ER Bar the renal friendly stamp of approval.
If a dialyzor had to follow a schedule of diminished dialysis frequency they would ideally do that in conjunction with the emergency renal diet. All the recommondations that I’ve seen recommend storing three days worth of the emergency renal diet - preparing to bridge a single missed treatment. I don’t think that is enough, I think it makes sense to recommend two weeks of preparation. I think the recommendation should be two weeks even under an all hazards approach to preparedness (putting aside pandemic).
If you had to evacuate, for whatever reason, it’d be very handy to have at minimum a two week emergency diet stockpile - add two weeks worth of long shelf life water and two weeks of medications and one would have a minimum amount of preparedness. That seems easier to do using ER Bars v. the normally suggested renal emergency diet. The cost would be about $30 a person for food for two weeks (14 - 1,800 calorie portions). I wouldn’t want to live on them for two weeks but I could live on them for two weeks in conjunction with some minimum dose of dialysis.
Right now Washington State is saying have “enough food and water per person for a week or more” in reserve but WA is also recommending that people with chronic diseases should plan for longer disruptions, you just have to look hard to see that message. I think the conventional message to dialyzors should be to keep 14 days worth of renal friendly emergency food in reserve. For those on home dialysis we should have on hand, at a minimum: 7 treatments worth of supplies, 14 days worth of medicine, food and water.
You could create a bridge over a two week disruption by combining an every other day dialysis schedule with the emergency diet. Using the ER Bars to meet the food piece would cost about $30. Because the shelf life of the bars is over 5 years (they’re rated at five years but kept in a cool, dry & dark storage space they should be fine for much longer) that means that it is a $6 a year insurance policy. That’s a bargin in my book