It’s possible for people to fly with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, if they have support and assistance to make the journey. One way to ensure that patients make a journey safely is to hire a flying companion for an Alzheimer’s patient.
Flight nurses trained in providing medical care at high altitudes also have expertise in dealing with people who live with a wide variety of medical conditions. They act as a medical travel companion, managing a patient’s medical equipment and prescriptions. They also provide guidance as they move through the airport, as well as when patients get on and off a plane.
Flying nurses are key to non-emergency medical transport (NEMT), which provides air medical care to those with injuries, disabilities and chronic conditions such as dementia.
What is a Medical Travel Companion?
Flying With Dementia
A person diagnosed with dementia can fly, but they should first consult with a physician. Because dementia is progressive, different people will experience different challenges when traveling.
The Alzheimer’s Association advises that families allow the experience of patients and caregivers to guide decisions on making trips. They write: “For example, if you have always gone to Florida in the winter, you can continue the tradition until the trip becomes too difficult or is no longer relaxing for the person living with dementia or the caregiver.”
For those who decide to make a trip, they may ask, “Can I hire a nurse to fly with me?” The answer is yes. Flight nurses can provide a level of care that gives clients and their families the comfort of having a professional medical care provider along for the trip.
NEMT FAQs: What Flight Nurses Do?
For those considering the option of hiring a flying companion for Alzheimer’s patients, it’s important to understand all the services they provide. Flight nurses at NEMT companies such as Flying Angels coordinate all aspects of a trip, including booking flights. They also have ongoing relationships with airport and airline personnel that helps make the journey through the airport and onto a plane much smoother.
Flight nurses manage a large number of duties.
- Ensuring patients have all medications and administering medications as needed
- Staying with clients throughout their journey through the airport
- Securing the best possible seats on the plane
- Training in how to manage any medical situation that arises at high altitudes
- Acting as a flight nurse patient advocate for clients
- Knowing how to get any equipment needed during the trip (such as wheelchairs), as well as the rules on their use
- Ensuring clients have all the documents they need. In the case of dementia patients, this includes contact information for the primary care doctor, a list of medications and doses, a list of food allergies and insurance information
The decision to hire a flying companion for Alzheimer’s patients gives both the patient and his or her family the assurance of knowing that someone is on the trip who can manage any type of medical situation. For those diagnosed with dementia, it can make trips possible that they might have thought they could not take.