A healthcare situation that requires a trip to the hospital can be an anxiety-inducing, stressful time for families. It’s only natural that everyone focuses on the medical treatment and doesn’t give much thought to hospital discharge planning.
But how people plan for what happens when they leave the hospital after discharge plays an important role in their health going forward. Over the years, experts have learned that better hospital discharge planning leads to better health outcomes.
Everyone plays a role in hospital discharge planning. This includes patients, family, caregivers and healthcare providers. The following looks at some of the key points when you leave the hospital after discharge. All are important factors to consider for hospital discharge planning.
What Happens When You Get Discharged From a Hospital?
Only a doctor can authorize a patient to get released from the hospital. In most hospitals, a hospital worker meets with patients and family to deliver discharge instructions. This could be a social worker, nurse, case manager or other healthcare professional. They will go over information they need to make the transition home. They show patients paperwork that lists all the procedures and treatments received. Patients need to verify the accuracy of the information, because it’s what they base a hospital bill on.
What Is Hospital Discharge Planning?
Hospital discharge planning involves a process for making a plan in advance on all the issues involved in transitioning from the hospital to home. For the hospital, discharge involves a team approach. That should also be the case with patients.
Hospital discharge planning typically breaks down into the following three major areas.
When meeting with the hospital discharge planner, it’s important to have questions ready. Some of the typical questions patients need answered include:
What’s my medical condition status?
When do I need to see the doctor again?
What are the details on the medication I am taking once I get home?
How do I operate any equipment I need (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)?
How active can I be after discharge, or how long should I wait to be active after discharge?
Patients either transition to their home or to another care facility. In either case, safe transportation is needed. Some prefer turning to professional non-emergency medical transport such as Flying Angels to handle these trips. They provide experienced nurses to travel with patients and ensure they receive quality medical care as they transition out of the hospital.
Another key issue for patients is planning for care once they get back home. Some of the common needs include cleaning the house, cooking, shopping, laundry, personal care if needed (such as help with bathing and dressing), emotional care and healthcare (such as managing medications). Hospital representatives should have information about government-funded services and non-profit organizations that can help with such services. Family and friends can also help track down different services.
If a patient thinks they will need to hire services, don’t wait until the last minute and make a hasty decision. Prices and level of service vary greatly in this area. It’s important to take some time and look around for the best choice to fit your circumstances. Planning on these key issues can give patients a level of comfort they need as they prepare to transition back home. Patients do well to take the initiative and plan ahead. That ensures they make a safe and healthy transition when they leave the hospital after discharge.
Flying is generally considered safe for those who have had a heart attack. However, for those who want to fly after a heart attack, it’s important to consider issues such as your current condition, the time since the heart attack and the type of equipment and medications you take.
Those with heart issues also can take actions that help make the flight easier, such as picking the right seat and knowing what to expect at security.
A solution for many is to have a trained flight nurse fly with them, especially if they want to fly after a heart attack or fly after a stroke. A trained nurse can provide all the care someone may need during the flight and they have experience in handling any issues that might arise.
The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that flying doesn’t need to be off limits for those with heart disease or who have had a heart attack or stroke. “In fact, a few simple precautions can help make your trip a smooth one,” the AHA writes.
Issues When You Fly After a Heart Attack
The following looks at some issues to keep in mind if you want to fly after a heart attack. By preparing in advance and getting the support you need, flying after a heart attack should not cause any issues.
How Long Ago Was The Heart Attack?
The length of time since the heart attack, and the severity of the heart attack, are two issues people should consider. There’s no set rule, but Web MD reports that most doctors advise waiting two weeks after a heart attack before flying. Most people also wait one week after having angioplasty.
What Is Your Current Condition?
If you visit a doctor before taking a flight, they will likely check for certain issues to gauge your current heart health. This includes blood pressure and whether you are experiencing an irregular heartbeat or chest pain. They may also check your oxygen blood level. Depending on the results of these tests, a doctor may adjust your medications before the flight.
What Type of Medication and Equipment Do You Need?
Planning and arriving early can save you headaches at the airport. In terms of equipment, it’s safe to fly with a pacemaker or defibrillator, but security equipment can interfere with the devices’ function, so alert security personnel in advance. Also, if you need to carry liquid medications or extra oxygen, get a document from your doctor that states you need to carry them on the plane with you.
In addition to the above issues, it’s also smart to have a checklist that includes the following.
Take all medications on the flight and have them within easy reach
Carry a list of your medications with you
Carry contact information for your family and your doctor
Request an aisle seat so you can stand and stretch your legs every so often, as well as easily get to the bathroom
Ask your doctor if you should wear compression socks that will help your blood circulate even as you sit in one position for a long period of time
Medical Transportation Assistance
Some who have suffered a heart attack prefer to have a medical professional fly with them to manage their health needs. This kind of service is referred to as non-emergency medical transport or medical transportation. This service provides the comfort of having an experienced flight nurse with you and oversee your care during the flight.
An example of a medical transportation service is Flying Angels which sends a nurse with you on your trip. A flight nurse provides care at high altitudes and is specially trained in aviation physiology. An RN Flight Coordinator handles all the travel arrangements for you and your loved ones to ensure the entire trip is comfortable and safe. Most people who have suffered a heart attack can fly safely if they follow these precautions. Make sure to consult with your doctor and a medical transport company before your flight. That way, you ensure that you take the proper steps before and during your journey.
Medical repatriation involves returning someone to their home country when they experience injuries, illness or trauma while abroad. Knowing how to find medical repatriation companies is critical to getting back home safely before time spent dealing with hospitals, doctors and insurance companies takes a toll on a person’s health and finances.
When trying to find medical repatriation companies, the key is to act quickly. They can provide the support you need to clear hurdles and get you back home to the care of your own doctors. The following medical tips can help you find medical repatriation companies and understand how they can help.
When trying to find medical repatriation companies, you want to find a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) service. These companies book flights, work on the patient’s behalf with airlines and airports and send an experienced, trained nurse to fly with patients. These flight nurses provide patients the care they need while in transit.
The right NEMT company will work with an insurance provider to verify if a patient qualifies for medical repatriation, handle communications with foreign medical staff and officials and properly completes all paperwork. They also consult with clinical staff at the hospital to ensure a patient is stable enough to fly.
Flying Angels has years of experience in providing medical repatriation services.
People hire a reputable NEMT company because of the challenges in leaving a foreign country to return home when you have required medical attention. When searching for medical repatriation companies, look for companies who understand how to handle the following problems.
American tourists on vacation don’t typically plan for an emergency and do not know if they have coverage for medical repatriation. The first step an NEMT company will take is to find out what is covered under a person’s insurance. That can get complicated. For example, some insurance does not cover air medical, and some may cover transfer to a higher level of care, but not back to their nation of origin. Also, even if insurance does cover medical repatriation, it may only cover return to the nearest U.S. airport, not the patient’s home city.
If insurance does not cover air medical, then some types of travel insurance and some high-level credit cards may offer coverage. Experienced NEMT companies have untangled these insurance knots many times before.
Simply communicating can prove difficult in non-English speaking countries. This can create delays in getting a patient transferred. In the worst cases, communication gaps can result in patients not getting the level of treatment they need. Poor communication also can lead to people not understanding local regulations that may allow hospitals to charge them far more than they realize. An experienced medical travel company will have contacts in the area and work with translators to ensure everyone is on the same page for treatment and transfer.
Choosing a Receiving Facility
Patients returning to the U.S. may have difficulty in getting transport to the receiving facility they want. NEMT companies will have a list of medical facilities where they have contacts and work to get patients transferred to a facility that offers the type of care they need. They also will have a list of alternative medical flight destinations.
The Patient’s Medical Condition
Medical transport companies should provide a trained flight nurse to travel with patients on their trip. Flight nurses have experience and training in performing medical services at high altitudes and should have expert knowledge of aviation physiology. They also manage medications or medical equipment needed during the flight. These registered nurses consult with medical personnel where the patient is getting treatment to understand their current condition. They also notify the receiving facility about the patient, so they are accepted for treatment.
When it comes to finding medical repatriation companies, time is of the essence. People who need medical repatriation want to move as fast as possible to get back home under the care of doctors they know. Hiring a professional medical repatriation company can get patients through the process faster and safer.
Many stroke survivors worry about if and when they can fly after a stroke. Medical research shows a person can fly after a stroke, but they should consider the type of stroke they had, how long it’s been since the stroke and whether they want medical travel assistance during the flight.
If you plan to travel after having a stroke, it’s comforting to know that research has found having a history of a stroke does not put a person in danger during an airline flight. Having a past stroke does not mean a person should not fly.
But if a stroke has been more recent or a person simply has concerns about flying, they should consider several factors before booking their trip.
Strokes vary in type and severity. Stroke victims should consider their own unique circumstances. Experts do not have hard and fast rules that apply to everyone who has had a stroke. But the following factors can help you decide about flying.
Type of Stroke
The advice on when to fly could depend on the stroke. A full stroke involves the sudden loss of blood flow to the brain. However, many people experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is known as a “mini-stroke” that resolves without permanent brain damage.
A TIA is like a stroke and considered a warning sign of stroke risk. Also, some medical disorders that lead to a TIA could pose a “very small risk” on flights, according to research compiled by Very Well Health. Those conditions include patent foramen ovale, paradoxical embolism or hypercoagulability. It’s important to know if you have those conditions.
Timing of Stroke
Experts may vary on when they recommend you can fly. The Stroke Association recommends that it is “probably best to avoid flying for the first two weeks. This is the time when your problems are likely to be most severe and other conditions related to your stroke may come up.”
In the most severe stroke cases, patients may want to wait as long as three months. However, with a TIA, many people are safe to fly in 10 days.
Before booking a flight, people should consult with their doctor.
Some people who have had a stroke may prefer to hire medical professionals to fly with them. Doing so provides them a high degree of security in making the flight and ensures they get proper medical care if needed. Such help is found with non-emergency transport (NEMT) companies like Flying Angels.
Flying Angels provides a number of services that can support stroke victims when they fly. A Flight Coordinator books your flight, sets up all the arrangements with both airports and airlines, gets you through security and provides a flight nurse to help you throughout your journey. The company hires only nurses with a great deal of experience working in emergency rooms and who have training in providing medical care at high altitudes.
Stroke survivors may face challenges, but they still can live a full life. As with any serious condition, those who have had a stroke need to practice patience and planning. Travel by flight is certainly doable if they have the right amount of support. Consulting with a doctor and a medical transport service can give people the answers they seek about flying after a stroke. They also can provide the comfort, care and support they need to make the journey.
Join Flying Angels in their tribute to the American Case Management (ACMA) Conference. After attending ACMA Conferences for the past three years, Flying Angels would have reached their 50th, but sadly it will have to wait… But We’ll Meet Again!
Hospital discharge transportation involves the methods used to transport a patient from the hospital to their home, a rehabilitation center, nursing home or other care facility. How hospitals and patients handle hospital discharge transportation is a key element to the success of overall medical treatment.
It’s an issue that all healthcare providers address. Hospital discharge transportation is seen as part of a comprehensive approach to patient care. That applies whether the patient needs medical transportation home or to another facility.
In some cases, transportation may involve having to fly commercial after surgery. This happens when patients are injured while on business travel or vacation. It also is necessary for those who must fly to get care from a specialist surgeon.
Medical professionals put a great deal of focus on discharge planning process because transportation from a care facility is a time when people are vulnerable. Every detail of hospital discharge transportation focuses on patient safety, including medical transportation home.
Also, effective discharge lowers the chance of a patient returning to the hospital because patients and their families are prepared for the transition. That’s why addressing the patient’s traveling requirements is critical.
In situations where flying is involved, hiring a non-emergency medical transport service is often the right move. They provide service that includes making all travel arrangements, including ground transportation, navigating the airport and flight reservations.
They also provide a flight nurse who is certified in aviation physiology and can handle any medical situations that may arise while in the air.
When working on discharge planning, medical staff find the best way to provide a smooth transition from one facility to another, or to the patient’s home. Only doctors can authorize discharge from a hospital. However, social workers, case managers or nurses often oversee discharge planning.
According to the National Center on Caregiving (NCC), discharge planning revolves around the following issues.
Evaluation. Qualified personnel evaluate the patient’s condition.
Discussion. A patient or her representative discuss discharge with qualified personnel
Planning. Plan revolves around either going home or to another institution.
Determining. Qualified personnel determine whether the patient’s caregiver needs training or other support
Referrals. The medical facility refers the patient to the appropriate support service, such as a home health agency
Follow up. Discharge planning also involves making arrangements for follow-up appointments or tests for the patient.
Many medical facilities continue to work in this critical area, so it’s important for patients to know their options and the challenges involved with discharge. For example, research reported by the NCC indicates about 40% of patients over the age of 65 had medication errors upon release from the hospital. Also, about 18% of Medicare patients discharged from hospitals are readmitted within 30 days. Those numbers underscore the importance of hospital discharge transportation. For patients who know they have an upcoming hospital stay, all options – including non-emergency medical transportation – should be investigated.