Is it possible to fly after a traumatic brain injury? Even considering flying after such a serious event seems risky, but it’s typically safe after a certain amount of time passes and a doctor gives you the OK and you seek the support you need to make the air travel experience less stressful.
Much like those who want to fly after a heart attack or fly with COPD, just the idea of trying to fly after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) seems intimidating. The key is in planning travel after a TBI that takes into account what you will need for a safe flight as well as getting the proper support.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The official definition of traumatic brain injury is any sudden event that causes injury to the brain. The most common events that lead to a TBI include bad falls (for example, from a ladder or down a flight of stairs), car accidents, sports injuries and, for members of the military, explosions and other combat injuries.
Some of the symptoms of TBI, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Difficulties with speech
- Trouble sleeping
- Confusion and agitation
Clearly, any of those could make it difficult to fly after a traumatic brain injury. However, time and medication can help with these issues. Most experts believe that flying is generally safe if it’s done at least 10 days after the brain injury. That varies, depending on the health of the patient before the incident and the exact nature of the brain injury.
It’s also crucial to get an opinion from your doctor before deciding to fly after a traumatic brain injury.
How Non-Emergency Medical Transport Can Help TBI Victims
If a doctor gives the green light for flying, then the next important step is to get the support you need for the flight. By flying with a flight nurse affiliated with a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) company, TBI patients can better handle all the details of airplane travel. A NEMT company and flight nurse offer support to TBI patients in a number of areas, including the following.
Making Flight Arrangements
TBI patients don’t have to worry about booking flights, dealing with airport personnel or handling the details of getting medications through security. A NEMT company handles all your travel arrangements and works with the airports and airlines to make your trip go as smoothly as possible.
Most TBI patients carry medications to deal with the symptoms listed above, as well as other TBI-related issues. A flight nurse will handle the transport and administering of medications throughout your trip, taking a major burden off your hands (and a lot of worry off your mind).
Expertise in Flight Healthcare
Flight nurses, in addition to training in emergency room settings, also have knowledge, skills and experience in providing healthcare at high altitudes. They understand the impact that flying can have on all medical conditions, including brain injuries. They will be ready to provide any care needed throughout the flight.
Peace of Mind
It’s impossible to quantify the peace of mind people experience having a Flight Coordinator handle all the travel-related bookings and a flight nurse to oversee care during the trip. Just the relief from anxiety that TBI patients experience can make having a flight nurse along worthwhile.
With a doctor’s clearance, it’s possible to fly after a traumatic brain injury. But TBI patients should also seek assistance to make the experience go much more smoothly. A flight nurse is an outstanding choice in this regard.