Background: Hurricane Katrina resulted in partial or complete devastation of dialysis services throughout the Gulf Coast, including the New Orleans metropolitan area. In the immediate aftermath, dialysis had to be provided to patients by surrounding communities in Louisiana, and ultimately by dialysis programs throughout the nation. Peritoneal dialysis patients, though typically more independent, also endured challenges in continuing dialysis following Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Rita caused similar damage to the western Gulf Coast at Lake Charles, Louisiana and Beaumont, Texas and further delayed recovery of dialysis services in the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Setting: A review of the problems created by the disaster provided many opportunities to improve healthcare delivery and to prepare for recovery from the event. Understanding what happened to the delivery of dialysis and chronic kidney disease services allows the opportunity to develop better systems to support this particularly vulnerable population of patients.
Conclusion: Many lessons can be learned from these events to minimize future interruption of dialysis services in the face of natural disasters such as hurricanes.