Hospital to hospice travel is difficult under the best of circumstances. For those who need a commercial airline flight, it can add an extra layer of complexity and stress. However, it’s not something people have to do alone.
Non-emergency medical transportation services provide an option for families searching for ways to safely transport a loved one from hospital to hospice. Given the situation, it’s one of the more demanding journeys a family can make. Having a flight nurse travel with a patient can make the journey less stressful.
For seniors looking to reduce the stress of travel, NEMT can offer assistance in any situation involving travel for the elderly, including making the journey from hospital to hospice.
Elderly Transport From Hospital to Hospice
The first consideration in transporting people from hospital to hospice is practicing kindness and respect toward the patient. For those searching for NEMT services in this area, make sure that the treatment from the outset reflects this mindset.
When researching NEMT companies to provide hospital to hospice transport, focus on companies that address the following areas.
Making all travel arrangements, including any special services needed to help the patient easily get through the airport and on board the plane
Any special accommodations needed in-flight
Medical services when required throughout the flight, including keeping track of medications and medical equipment
Going over the trip plan in advance to prepare the patient and family
It’s helpful to work with those who have experience working with airlines and airports at both domestic and international destinations, making it easier to set up any special accommodations. Nurses who fly with patients from hospital to hospice should also have years of experience in providing care and hold the necessary certifications to provide medical care at high altitudes.
Flying Angels recently had the honor of working with Jill Connaway in transporting her mother from a hospital in Missouri to Jill’s home in California. She found Flying Angels while doing research. As she wrote in a Facebook post, she heard from CEO Bob Bacheler within an hour after reaching out through the Flying Angels website.
“He was clear and upfront about what the estimated cost and process to get mom home would be. He was extremely patient and flexible as the plan continued to change as mom bounced between the hospital and rehab center for a month,” she wrote. “When it finally went time, he had our travel coordinated within 48 hours, including a ticket for me, so I could be on the same flight with mom.”
She said the flight nurse who traveled with her Mom, Elise, “was awesome.” She visited the day before the trip, setting expectations and preparing the pair for the trip. Jill wrote that Elise did everything possible to make the difficult trip “smooth and seamless.”
“She coordinated all of the details with the hospital. And she is just a very kind, congenial person,” she wrote. “Her attention to detail is superb. And the fact that she managed our travel so well really took a lot of the stress off of me and my mom. Plus she was very encouraging, especially at the very end of the trip when mom was so exhausted; she really cheered her on and kept her going.”
Expertise in Medical Transport
Flying Angels has years of experience providing non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) to patients in all types of situations. They include people injured while traveling who need to get back home, seniors relocating to a new home, and those with disabilities or medical conditions that make it difficult to travel on their own.
However, traveling from hospital to hospice is one of the most special journeys a person can make when using NEMT. The nurses and staff at Flying Angels feel gratitude for being asked to provide medical care during such an important time.
Jill summed up the company’s approach in her Facebook post. “I am so pleased that I reached out to Flying Angels,” she wrote, “I am grateful that there are people like Bob and Elise in the world who care so deeply and take such good care of people who are often in the most vulnerable places in their lives.”
Unless you’re seated in first class, sleeping on a plane is a tough task to accomplish. And even those in the best seats might still find it hard to tune out the plane noise and conversations going on around them, as well as find a comfortable position. It’s a problem.
Fortunately, it’s a problem with solutions. Years of trial and error have helped people develop travel hacks, including ways to get good sleep.
Even for those who still plan to wear masks during long flights, it’s possible to catch a little airborne sleep time. As Bob Bacheler, managing director of Flying Angels, told the Washington Post about sleeping on overnight flights, it’s “nearly impossible” to sleep well with an N95 mask, because the masks aren’t designed for comfort or to work on long flights. He told the Post: “The key to sleeping with a mask is to find one that’s comfortable to wear.”
Why Is Sleeping On a Plane So Hard?
For people with anxiety about flying on an airplane, it’s easy to understand why they might have difficulty dropping off while in the air. But most people eventually relax, especially on an overnight flight or other long flight. But relaxing on a plane is one thing. Sleeping on a plane is another. Plenty of roadblocks stand between you and getting good sleep while in the air, especially on overnight flights.
Sitting up. The human body is incredible, but there’s one thing it’s not made to do: sleep while sitting straight up. Especially when you’re sitting straight up in a narrow plane seat right next to someone you may not even know.
REM sleep. About 70 minutes or so into sleep, your body moves into REM sleep, a deep sleep state. One of the features of this state is that the body shuts down voluntary muscles. That means your head might flop over onto your seatmate or you might slide against the window – movements that jolt you awake.
Fluctuating temperatures. Swings in temperature can wake you up under the best of circumstances. On a plane, those swings can be dramatic and happen often.
Noise. Jet engines make plenty of noise, of course. There’s also the sales guy chatting up the whole row behind you and the baby crying across the aisle. Planes have dozens of noises that can jar you back to consciousness.
Tips for Sleeping on a Plane
Even with the above obstacles, there are ways to get sleep on an overnight flight. They range from what you wear to technology that can help. All of them can give you a better chance to get good sleep while flying.
Dress in layers. Handle those temperature changes by bringing a light jacket or hoodie that you can easily slip into or out of, depending on the temperature. They also make for great temporary pillows.
Light-blocking mask. Someone always decides it’s time to read, even on an overnight flight, and flips on their overhead light. Cabin lights may also come on. Protect yourself from those sleep-killing factors by wearing a light-blocking mask over your eyes.
Watch what you eat. High altitudes cause gas to expand, which can lead to a lot of discomfort in the stomach. Stay mindful about what you eat before a flight, sticking with items such as bananas, fruit smoothies, fresh bread, and crackers.
Try pink noise. White noise broadcasts all frequencies that humans can hear, but all equal in strength. Pink noise decreases the volume of higher frequencies. It’s a sound experience that resembles listening to rain or sea waves and is great at promoting restful sleep.
Add a pillow. Use a support pillow for your lower back, which can help reduce the risk of experiencing pain. Also, putting your elbows on the seat rest can alleviate pressure on your back.
Stay hydrated. The air in plane cabins, which typically has only about 20 percent humidity, can make it difficult to sleep by drying out your nasal passages and throat. Drink plenty of water (about 8 ounces for every hour you’re in the air) and use nose drops to add moisture.
These tips can help lead to better sleep on a plane, which means you will enjoy yourself much more when you land, rather than rushing to find a place to lie down and make up for lost sleep.
Few things are as frustrating as having a flight canceled after you’ve made all the arrangements to take a trip. If you find yourself caught in this situation, there are steps you can take to make the situation more bearable.
It’s especially important to learn tips for canceled flights as weather conditions have become more unpredictable in recent years and airlines canceled more flights during the global pandemic. And the other causes of flight delays are still in play, including computer glitches and staff shortages.
The following looks at some tips for canceled flights to keep in mind as you seek to avoid common air travel mistakes. You want to have options in case the worst happens, and you must deal with a cancellation or lengthy delay.
Tips for Canceled Flights
You’ve booked your flights and the hotel at your destination. You’ve rearranged your schedule to accommodate some time away from home. You might even have already arrived at the airport. Then comes the bad news: the airline has canceled your flight.
It’s an inconvenient situation, to say the least. Once you’ve gotten over the anger and frustration (this may take a few moments) consider the following tips for canceled flights.
Always Make a Last-Minute Check
This first tip actually addresses what happens before a cancellation. That’s because while news of a flight cancellation is unwelcome in all circumstances, it’s far worse when you’ve left your home or hotel and are sitting in the airport terminal. It’s also typically easier to make new arrangements from home than it is at the airport because of the crowds.
A good way to know about cancellations or delays early is by signing up with your airline’s text alerts. That typically ensures you will be among the first to know if an airline cancels or delays your flight.
This is the first and most important decision. Should you seek a refund on your flight and try another time to make your trip? Or should you immediately try to book another flight? Each travel itinerary has its own details, but factors for this decision generally include when the next flight is available, whether the trip included a connecting flight that you can still make, and if a delay will require making changes to your return plans (and require you to pay the dog sitter for another day or two).
Act As Quickly As Possible
If you decide to immediately book another flight, now is not the time for hesitation. Once you see the notification of a cancellation, immediately get into line to talk with an agent while you (or someone else in your party) also calls the airline. You want to pursue every avenue to book a new flight as quickly as possible. While it may not seem fair, this is a “first come, first served” situation.
Keep in mind that most airlines will rebook you on the next flight to your destination for free if your flight is canceled. Also, if you work with a flight coordinator, they can help you quickly make new arrangements.
Do The Research
Using your phone, you or someone in your party can start looking up alternative flights to your destination as you wait in line to talk to an agent or wait on hold on the phone. Knowing your options when you talk to the agent will help them work more quickly to solve your problem. Also, as pointed out by CNN Travel, having a good attitude will make an agent who hears nothing but complaints all day work harder and faster on your behalf.
Know Your Rights
A step too few people take when they fly is to review the cancellation policy of the airline. U.S. law requires airlines to refund passengers for unused tickets caused by canceled flights. For a long delay, they may not have to offer a refund, depending on the cause of the delay (such as anything deemed an “act of God,” like bad weather). However, most airlines make every effort to accommodate passengers, so read the cancellation policy of your airline to know the steps to take.
These tips for canceled flights can make the experience slightly less terrible, and also help you get to your destination as quickly as possible should you choose to continue with your trip. Flight cancellations and delays are more common than ever lately, but preparation is key to handling them in the best way possible.
Millions of people in the United States and billions around the world fly in an airplane every year. You’d think by now that many of the myths about flying would disappear, but some of them have a tenacious hold on people’s imagination.
Unlike air travel facts many people don’t know about, these myths are completely untrue. Many seem designed to scare people or, in some cases, just gross people out. With airplane travel picking up again, it’s a good time to dispel these myths.
Like a game of “telephone” when you were a kid, myths tend to grow because as people pass a story along, details tend to change. Facts and context get lost. Then, before long, the story is something completely different or exaggerated beyond all recognition.
Here are a few myths about flying that many people continue to believe. Many of them come from a Reader’s Digest interview with pilots.
Germs Pass Easily on a Plane
Engineers fit planes with high-quality oxygen systems that recycle the air every one to three minutes, meaning that germs don’t easily travel from one end of the plane to another. Like most places, you’re only likely to pick up an illness from the people sitting directly next to you.
Pilots Fly Around the Bermuda Triangle
While planes have run into trouble while flying through what is known as the Bermuda Triangle – including some that have gone missing – airlines don’t route flights around it. That’s because tropical storms and vast stretches of ocean are the cause of crashes there, not diabolical forces. It’s the same situation in many other places in the world. Pilots today know how to avoid storms, and vast stretches of ocean are not a problem for modern jets on long-distance flights.
Maybe it’s from the movies, but a persistent myth is that something terrible will happen if a passenger decides to open the cabin door while in flight. Except that is simply not possible. Safety features on commercial jets keep a door securely bolted shut during a flight, even if someone tries to open it.
You Can Get Sucked Into the Toilet
This one scares kids the most. It’s also not possible. While airplane toilets do create a vacuum that sucks everything down, the toilet seat does not have an airtight seal, meaning you won’t get sucked down into it.
Air Travel Is Not Safe
The opposite is true. Air travel ranks among the safest of all transportation methods. There’s more of a chance of being in an accident while driving your car a mile away from your house than there is in an airplane.
Yes, it is. For some reason, people for years have repeated a rumor that the plane actually pumps some type of mixture through drop-down masks to keep people calm. Actually, it really does supply about 12 minutes of oxygen in the rare event a plane loses cabin pressure. This gives the pilot plenty of time to get the plane down to a level where people can breathe on their own.
Ugh! Why this persists is unknown, but it’s one of the more popular myths about flying. The only thing pilots are allowed to dump mid-flight is water, and then only from the flight attendant’s sink, if needed. Toilets are not dumped mid-flight. It’s unsafe (something could stick to the plane and cause problems) and also completely disgusting.
Alcohol Has More Effect at High Altitude
Actually, it doesn’t, but it might have more effect on you once you land. Because people tend to dehydrate at high altitudes, and because alcohol causes further dehydration, people may feel tired and dehydrated by the time they land if they drink alcohol during the flight. But they won’t get a better “buzz.”
These are just some of the persistent myths about flying. As it turns out, plane travel is much safer – and in the case of the toilet myths, much less gross – than the myths make it seem.
When managing health, some people require the support of professional care providers who plan and coordinate their care. Both case managers and care managers play key roles in providing such care, but in different ways.
Understanding the difference between case manager vs. care manager is necessary to make the proper choice on the type of care you need for yourself or a loved one who requires the help of a professional care provider. This includes those who need support in day-to-day life at home or customized care for coordinating plans and accompanying people when they travel.
Differences and Similarities With Case Manager vs. Care Manager
For those researching the type of care they need, the choice between case manager vs. care manager might provide a roadblock. It’s confusing to many. While the two share some similarities, they have key differences. The following provides an overview of both.
Who Is a Case Manager?
A case manager is often called a nurse case manager. The term “case management” has been around much longer than care management. It refers to healthcare professionals, typically nurses, who coordinate the overall care for patients.
In most situations, a case manager works directly for a healthcare facility, such as a clinic, hospital, or outpatient care facility. The American Case Management Association for example is a professional community of care management professionals who provide care for people in many different situations and with a wide range of services.
The Nursing Case Management Review and Resource Manual refers to case managers as those who “focus on care coordination, financial management and resource utilization to yield cost-effective outcomes that are patient-centric, safe and provided in the least restrictive setting.”
Case manager duties may include the following.
Developing a recovery time frame and monitoring its progress
Providing advice to clients and their families on critical decisions
Making the recovery process more efficient, including building relationships with other medical professionals
Providing healthcare-related financial advice to clients and their families
Encouraging a holistic approach to recovery
Monitor the patient’s emotional well-being and keeping them motivated
Who Is a Care Manager?
A care manager works individually with patients, helping to create care plans that help them through various stages of care as well as the transition between each. Organizations like the Aging Life Care Association® offer consultation, assessment, care coordination and advocacy to help individuals and their families find care managers who often work directly for the patient or with private agencies. They provide direct support to their client, taking an active role in each stage of care.
Care managers usually work with patients in their homes or during travel. They may work as a liaison between insurance and healthcare providers, managing medications and researching treatment options in addition to creating healthcare plans. Care managers, while relatively new, already have many job titles, including geriatric care managers, nurse concierge, and professional patient advocate.
Senior relocation services refer to organizations that offer seniors support when they decide to downsize and move. They offer help in planning the move, leaning out their current home, and in making the move itself.
It’s an important service because while moving is tough for people at any age, it can prove especially hard for seniors. They often face having to leave a home where they’ve lived for years and accumulated many memories.
That’s a tough situation for both the seniors and their children. Senior relocation services can make a world of difference in dealing with relocating their parents. They range from concierge services who manage all the logistics of a move to nonprofit organizations that provide free labor for moving day.
Types of Senior Relocation Services
Every senior reaches a point where they start to think about downsizing and moving to a new town, often to live closer to loved ones. They also may move to live in the warmer climates of places such as Florida and Arizona or in an assisted living for family. Senior relocation services offer support in all phases of making the move.
Sometimes called concierge services, these companies offer turnkey services that include packing, unpacking, space planning, downsizing, car transport and change of address. They also will come in person and evaluate what the seniors have, helping them develop a plan to declutter their home. Seniors should focus on working with senior move managers accredited by the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers (NASMM).
Another source for seniors who plan to downsize or move are the Aging Life Care Specialists who are part of the Aging Life Care Association. They offer a network of specialists across the country who assist people who are dealing with aging life care issues.
These are like regular moving companies, but they specialize in moving seniors. Or they’re a regular moving company that offers discounted rates for seniors. In either case, they can handle all the heavy lifting involved with moving that seniors cannot handle.
Non-Emergency Medical Transport
For seniors living with medical conditions or injuries that make it difficult to fly to their new destination alone, a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) flight nurse can travel with them. They manage all medications and specialize in providing care at high altitudes. They also can manage booking all the travel arrangements.
Some non-profit organizations offer programs that help lower income seniors with moving costs. They include the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and the YMCA.
Downsizing Tips for Seniors
One of the most difficult parts of making a move for seniors is decluttering their current home and downsizing to fit into their new home. It’s a great feeling to accomplish this task, but it does require having a plan. The following tips can help.
Start As Early As Possible
Seniors should start a couple of months in advance with a checklist of what they need to accomplish before making the move. This checklist can include:
Getting floor plan of new home
Choosing which furniture to move
Getting rid of unwanted possessions
Contacting utilities ahead of time to turn off service
A good strategy to employ for a move is to do one room at the time. Completely clear out a room and pack it up before moving on to the next one. It’s a systematic approach that breaks the work into doable chunks.
When cleaning out rooms, keep in mind to eliminate any duplicate items. It’s amazing how many of these pile up over the years, especially in the kitchen. Also, chances are moving into a smaller place means having fewer rooms, such as a second guest room or an office. Declutter belongings with this in mind.
Sell or Give Away Items
When the time comes, don’t hesitate to sell some of your items through a yard sale or through online markets such as eBay. A little extra cash can help pay the costs of your move. However, keep in mind that most items won’t bring in much cash, so limit the time you want to spend in this area. It might be better to consider giving many items away to charity or to family and friends.
These tips can help you start planning your move, while senior relocation services can help the entire process go much smoother.