Navigating Air Travel with Medical Equipment: Tips for a Smooth Journey

Navigating Air Travel with Medical Equipment: Tips for a Smooth Journey

Air Travel with Medical Equipment

Flying on a commercial airline when you need to carry medical equipment may seem intimidating. In addition to getting through security and having the proper documentation, air travel with medical equipment also raises concerns about accessibility, the availability of assistance, and the complications of packing and carrying equipment.

But following some smart tips – and partnering with people who have experience in helping those traveling with medical equipment – can make the journey much smoother.

It’s an issue that comes up frequently in media reports. National Public Radio reported that those with disabilities, who often have medical equipment, report feeling “anxiety” and “dread” just thinking about flying. The New York Times reported that flying with a wheelchair can be “embarrassing” and “uncomfortable.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. Despite these stories, air travel with medical equipment can go much more smoothly with the right amount of preparation and assistance. It’s certainly an area where having your travel booked by an RN Flight Coordinator and making the journey with a flight nurse can make your trip much easier.

Tips For a Smooth Journey With Medical Equipment

While those who use medical equipment may have justifiable concerns about traveling on a commercial flight, it’s important to know many people who use medical equipment successfully fly every day. Airlines and airports are increasingly equipped to support passengers with various medical needs, and there are steps you can take to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

What Medical Equipment Can You Bring?

The place to start when planning air travel with medical equipment is finding out what you can and cannot bring on a flight. The Transportation Security Administration offers a list of what is allowed on an airplane.

The list includes common devices such as blood sugar test kits, crutches, inhalers, insulin pumps and glucose monitors, walkers, and wheelchairs.

It’s important to check with the guidelines to see the details on some items. For example, the TSA allows nebulizers in carry-on bags, but they must be removed from the carrying case and undergo X-ray screening. Passengers are allowed to keep face masks and tubing in the case. Devices with lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries should always go into carry-on baggage. Passengers may provide a clear plastic bag to place the device in for X-ray screening.

In general, medical devices are allowed in carry-on bags, but not checked baggage. 

Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Passengers can bring a portable oxygen concentrator onboard in carry-on and checked bags. The TSA provides a list of portable oxygen concentrators that meet FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) specifications for inflight use. The TSA notes that even permitted devices may not get through a checkpoint “if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns.”

External Medical Devices

Those with an external medical device attached to their body, such as a feeding tube or ostomy bag, must inform the TSA agent where it is located before the screening process begins. You may detach it for screening through the X-ray if it is safe to do so. 

Passengers can use electronic assistive devices during flights, as long as they have documentation or a manufacturer’s label that assures the device meets FAA standards for safety and hazardous goods. Airlines require advance notice on the use of these devices. For example, United Airlines asks passengers to give information about these devices when they book a flight, adding: “We need to know at least 48 hours in advance that your device meets FAA requirements.”

Packing and Transporting Safety Equipment

When it comes to packing and transporting medical equipment, a wide range of related issues require your attention. 

  • Carry-On. This allows you to maintain direct control over your equipment, reducing the chances of damaged or lost medical equipment.
  • Research. Knowing TSA rules is important, but you should also research online to find out the policies of the airline you are flying on. Also, notify them in advance about your intention to bring medical equipment on the flight.
  • Packing. Pack and secure medical equipment using sturdy cases or bags designed for the device. Consider using padding or cushioning materials to protect fragile components. Clearly label your medical equipment and its components, including any removable parts or accessories. 
  • Batteries and chargers. Pack enough batteries, power adapters, or chargers for medical equipment. Place them in a carry-on bag, along with any accessories. 
  • Documentation. Bring copies of important medical documents – especially prescriptions and letters from healthcare providers describing both your condition and the need for medical equipment.

Ensuring Accessibility and Assistance

As noted by AARP, the federal Air Carrier Access Act mandates that airlines and airports provide accommodations for those who need assistance with mobility issues, hearing and vision impairment, and other types of debilitating conditions. It’s important to ask for assistance in advance, either when booking a flight or through an airline’s special assistance team.

When booking online, every airline will offer the chance at some point in the process to request special assistance. This can help your travel go much more smoothly. Most airlines will contact you a few days before your flight. If they do not, experts recommend contacting the airline to ensure they understand what you will need to safely and comfortably make your flight.

On the plane, airlines have special wheelchairs for the narrow walkway between rows of seats, allowing them to transport you to your seat. Your regular wheelchair and walker will get stored with the cargo in the plane.

While it comes with a certain amount of challenges, air travel with medical equipment is possible. It’s important to understand what you can and cannot bring on your trip. It’s also a situation where it’s worth considering working with a professional non-emergency medical transport company to ensure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.

Essential Tips for Traveling with Chronic Health Conditions

Essential Tips for Traveling with Chronic Health Conditions

Traveling with Chronic Health Conditions

Traveling presents a thrilling and rewarding opportunity to break away from the mundane and discover new horizons. Yet, those considering traveling with chronic health conditions might hesitate to move forward with their travel plans. However, chronic conditions should not keep people from enjoying traveling.

The key is to approach travel with careful consideration, good planning and preparation. Doing so can result in a trip that is both safe and pleasurable. While the following tips can help those traveling with chronic health conditions reach that goal, it’s also worth your time to consider working with non-emergency medical transport professionals who can make all your travel rearrangements and also travel with you. 

Traveling with Chronic Health Conditions

While the following tips apply to those with chronic health conditions, some also work for those with injuries, those who recently underwent a surgery or those who have suffered a stroke

Communicating With Healthcare Providers

It’s important to consult with your doctor and other important healthcare providers before traveling with chronic health conditions. As noted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, you should try to meet with your healthcare providers as much in advance as possible before your trip. They can provide guidance on issues such as any risks you face with travel, as well as plan for any immunizations, medications and medical devices needed before and during your trip.

Medication Management During Travel

This is an area where careful planning and organization are required. The goal is to make sure you have an adequate supply. The first step is to talk with your doctor, letting them know what your travel plans involve. They can offer advice on the proper amount of medication to take with you. They may even adjust your dosages for the duration of the trip, so speak with them well in advance.

Always take medication on the flight so you are not stuck without your prescription medications if your checked baggage ends up in another airport! Also, bring a prescription from your doctor in case you have to get a refill while on your journey. Use pill divider cases to carry your pills and set alarms or reminders on your phone or watch for when you need to take your pills (especially if you travel to a different time zone).

Preparing a Medical Travel Plan

Research your destination and learn about the local climate, altitude, and accessibility to medical facilities. Determine if you need vaccinations or additional precautions. Become familiar with local healthcare services and emergency contact information, including hospitals and any clinics that specialize in your condition. 

Another key component of a good medical travel plan is ensuring you have plenty of medication for the duration of your trip. To help with any security issues, consider packing medications in their original packaging, along with copies of prescriptions and any other necessary documentation.

It’s also important to consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical costs involving your chronic condition. Always carry insurance information and emergency contact numbers with you.

Ensuring Comfort and Safety During Your Journey

Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that those with circulatory problems may experience swollen legs and discomfort on longer flights. They suggest stretching legs and arms at least once an hour, performing leg lifts several times an hour while seated, and wearing well-fitted or compression stockings.

You can also stay more comfortable by watching what you eat and staying hydrated. Carry water with you at all times and drink plenty of fluids. Make sure to also bring all mobility aids that you may need, including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.

Other tips for comfort and safety to keep in mind.

  • Choose a seat that accommodates your needs, such as an aisle seat that gives you easier access to the restroom.
  • Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing and comfortable shoes that allow for easy movement and minimize any restrictions or pressure on your body.
  • Bring your own pillows, cushions, or lumbar support to provide added comfort for your back and neck.
  • Keep in mind that airlines are equipped to help those with special needs. Inform them in advance about your condition and request any special assistance you may require, such as wheelchair assistance or priority boarding.

Traveling with chronic health conditions requires careful planning, but it should not hinder your desire to enjoy your journey. By following these tips, you can embark on a memorable trip while managing your health effectively.

What to Expect from Non-Emergency Medical Transport by Air

What to Expect from Non-Emergency Medical Transport by Air

NEMT services

An injury suffered while on vacation. Chronic conditions that inhibit range of motion. Traveling after suffering a stroke or heart attack. These are just some of the situations where travelers can benefit by using non-emergency medical transport by air. 

What can people expect using NEMT transport? They immediately have a partner who can work with them on booking all the arrangements for their journey. They also reap the benefits of having a trained flight nurse travel with them throughout their trip, providing medical assistance when needed. They also enjoy the peace of mind that comes from flying with someone trained to provide emergency medical care, if needed.

Non-emergency medical transport by air has gained in popularity in recent years as people increasingly see the value of working with healthcare professionals for their next long-distance trip, whether the location is domestic or international.

What Is NEMT?

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) refers to a service that involves transport of patients who do not require emergency medical attention, but still need assistance. In the case of an NEMT company such as Flying Angels, the service involves traveling with a flight nurse who provides assistance and medical services to clients who are traveling by commercial airline. 

People use NEMT services for a variety of reasons. Families partner with an NEMT company to help them with a senior relocation. Others may suffer injuries while traveling and seek NEMT services so a nurse can fly back home with them. Others suffer from chronic conditions or injuries that keep them from flying safely on their own, including broken bones, head trauma, or dementia. Some want a nurse to fly with them if they recently had surgery.

Whatever the case, the goal of NEMT services is to ensure the safe, reliable transport of patients who have difficulty traveling on their own. 

Services and Benefits of Non-Emergency Medical Transport by Air

Working with a high-quality NEMT service provides a wealth of benefits in a variety of areas. They include senior relocations, medical reparations, long distance vacations to both domestic and international locations, and as an air ambulance alternative.

Booking Travel in Advance

Quality NEMT companies make all the arrangements for each client’s travels. It’s a service that directly enhances the experience. For example, an RN Flight Coordinator is an experienced nurse who knows how to arrange a trip in a way that benefits the client. This includes booking direct flights whenever possible, working with airport officials to ensure clients have a safe and comfortable trip through the airport, and securing any needed early boarding privileges from commercial airlines.

Traveling with a Flight Nurse

Flight nurses travel with clients during the entirety of their trip on a commercial airline. They have years of nursing experience and the training required to provide medical care at high altitudes. They also work with airport and airline officials to get any assistance required as well as manage the patient’s medication and medical equipment. 

During the journey, a flight nurse monitors the client’s health and provides any medical assistant needed. They make sure patients take their medication at the proper time and also use any medical equipment properly. This can prove especially helpful to seniors with medical conditions who feel uncomfortable traveling long distances alone.

Coordination with Airports and Airlines

Both the RN Flight Coordinator and the flight nurse work with airport and airline officials to help smooth the way for the journey. That includes issues such as having a wheelchair waiting when they arrive at the airport and getting medical equipment through security. They also work with the airline to get early boarding and find favorable seating (near a bathroom, for example). Thanks to years of experience working in the transportation industry, nurses affiliated with NEMT companies know who to talk to in order to get the services people need.

Benefits of Using Non-Emergency Medical Transport By Air

The services provided through NEMT companies benefit clients in many different ways. Most importantly, NEMT flight nurses keep patients comfortable during their trip and also ensure that they arrive safely at their destination.

NEMT services also reduce stress. Those who work with non-emergency transport professionals don’t have to worry about making flight arrangements, finding the right person to talk to at the airport or airline to get special services, or having medical complications arise while flying alone. Healthcare professionals manage all of those issues.

People also can save money using NEMT services rather than an ambulance, which is far more costly. Using NEMT can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for travelers who don’t need all the services offered in emergency transportation.

These are some of the services and benefits to expect when using non-emergency medical transport by air. It’s a service that can vastly improve the travel experience for many types of people who might otherwise have difficulties or feel much more stressed if required to travel alone.

Navigating the Challenges of Senior Care: Tips for Adult Children

Navigating the Challenges of Senior Care: Tips for Adult Children

Senior care

We live in the age of the “silver tsunami.” In the United States and many other developed countries around the world, the population is rapidly aging, a development that will impact everything from workplaces to healthcare services. It also means more adult children than ever face managing senior care for their aging parents.

The term “senior care” can mean different things to different people. As they age, seniors face a host of issues that can make their golden years more difficult. They include chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. Many also experience reduced mobility and coordination that can impact them in a variety of ways, including placing limits on what they can do with daily activities as well as traveling (including the travel needed to relocate to another home).

Adult children can get as stressed as the seniors themselves in trying to solve these issues. But taking advantage of certain services and putting some smart tips into action can help resolve many senior care issues.

Ways Adult Children Can Meet the Challenges of Senior Care

The following provides an overview of some of the ways adult children can manage the challenges of senior care for their aging parents. Adult children who find themselves in this situation are certainly not alone. Data from the federal government shows that Americans 65 years old and up represented 16% of the population in 2019, but will make up 21.6% of the population by 2040.

Know Their Needs

The first step in meeting the challenges of providing senior care involves assessing the needs of the people involved. Seniors can experience a wide variety of health-related issues, but also may have financial issues or even experience loneliness. Whatever the case, an open and honest conversation about their needs and expectations is a good place to start. Adult children should have a detailed understanding of any issues their parents face, as well as medications they take and health services they require. This requires the parents’ input and feedback.

Make a Plan

A care plan should cover all the areas where seniors may need help. This can include many activities, ranging from regular medical care (such as sessions with a physical therapist) and help with household chores to having a travel companion during any trip they take or assistance in relocating to a new home that better suits their needs. Adult children should not leave out issues such as social engagement and daily activities that help seniors maintain their health (both mental and physical).

Delegating Responsibilities

Many tasks might fall to family members, such as helping with household chores or making runs to the grocery store. It’s important to delegate these responsibilities as evenly as possible among family to avoid creating caregiver stress. Over long periods of time, caregiver stress can lead to worse problems for the adult child who act as caregivers, including burnout and even depression.

Bring in Professionals

Having a good primary care physician is important, but professionals can provide invaluable assistance in many other areas of senior care. This includes services such as cleaning, grocery delivery, and flight nursing for trips or medical services. RN flight coordinators can also help with trip booking and special accommodations. Additionally, the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) offers Aging Life Care Managers who are trained to assess seniors’ needs, create personalized care plans, coordinate services, and advocate for their well-being. ALCA professionals can be a valuable resource for adult children navigating the complexities of senior care and feeling overwhelmed.

Having a good primary care physician is, of course, a central part of a care plan. But professionals can provide the best levels of senior care in many other areas. This includes almost every facet of senior care. For example, a cleaning service can help families better manage their aging parents’ home. Grocery delivery can cut down on how much the seniors have to drive. And flight nurses can accompany seniors on trips to family get-togethers, vacations or for medical services in other areas. RN flight coordinators can also book trips and arrange any special accommodations for seniors in advance. 

Find Community Resources

In addition to professional services, adult children should also search for community services that can help them better manage senior care. This includes senior centers, meal delivery services if necessary, and free transportation services (such as transport to doctor’s appointments). These free community services solve two issues at once: they provide better services to seniors while also taking some of the burden off family caregivers.

Practice Self-Care

Meeting the challenges of senior care for aging parents can become both physically and emotionally draining. Adult children can help both themselves and their aging parents by practicing self-care. That can include taking breaks, finding time each day to spend on something the caregiver enjoys, getting support from other family members, and joining an online or in-person caregiver support group.

These are just some of the tips that can help adult children better meet the challenges of senior care for their aging parents. By planning and taking some smart steps, adult children can help their parents better enjoy their golden years.

Continuity of Care During Air Travel for Patients with Chronic Conditions

Continuity of Care During Air Travel for Patients with Chronic Conditions

air travel care

People with chronic conditions can, in many cases, still use air travel to reach their destinations. Doing so requires planning and consultation with clinicians. It’s also helpful to travel with medical professionals who can provide continuity of care during air travel.

Flight nurses who work for non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) companies can provide this service, traveling with patients from their home to their final destination. The best NEMT companies also employ RN flight coordinators to book all the tickets for the flight as well as work with airlines and airports in advance to help smooth the way for clients with chronic conditions. 

As noted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Chronic conditions should not keep people from enjoying travel.” They advise that as with other medical conditions, people with chronic diseases should always “see their healthcare provider as early as possible before traveling.”

Johns Hopkins also notes that those with chronic conditions should “travel with a companion familiar with their condition.”

What Is Continuity of Care During Air Travel?

The term continuity of care refers to the healthcare strategy of coordination and delivering services to a patient over a period of time and at different locations. The idea is to provide patients with consistent, uninterrupted care that allows them to seamlessly move between healthcare providers and settings.

Continuity of care is especially important for patients with chronic conditions or complex medical needs. In those cases, patients often require care from a variety of providers.

In the context of air travel, continuity of care refers to delivery of healthcare services during a journey using commercial airlines. Flight nurses accompany patients throughout the trip, overseeing medications and providing any needed medical treatment. They also assist those with chronic conditions as they navigate the airport, as well as boarding and deplaning.

Examples of Common Chronic Conditions

What are some of the chronic conditions that people travel with the most? They include hypertension, arthritis, allergies, traumatic brain injury, stroke (depending on the type and severity), mild asthma, and chronic digestive issues such as acid reflux. Those with injuries that limit mobility can also often fly, including those with a broken leg.

Some of those with certain conditions may be advised against air travel, according to Johns Hopkins. They include people with cardiac failure, a recent myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke, angina (chest pain) at rest, heart rate or rhythm disorders, uncontrolled arterial hypertension, severe anemia, sickle-cell anemia, acute mental disorders, epilepsy, and any serious or contagious diseases. Even in these cases, the decision to fly or not depends on an individual’s medical condition.

What NEMT Flight Nurses Do

NEMT flight nurses work with RN flight coordinators, going through the details of a client’s flight and reviewing the care they will require. They also review airport procedures and contact airline and airport officials about any special requirements a client might need, such as a special security line or boarding a plane early.

Nurses also review a client’s condition and ensure all the necessary medical equipment and medications are packed for the trip. They also have a medical kit of their own to prepare for any needs the client might experience during air travel or at the airport.

Flight nurses are trained in flight physiology, as well as psychological distress patients may experience during a flight. They also track the times for giving clients their medication and make routine health checks. In this way, they ensure continuity of care during air travel for their clients, including those with chronic conditions.

Flight nurses provide important care for those with chronic conditions who do not want to fly alone. An NEMT flight nurse provides the peace of mind in knowing clients by providing continuity of care during air travel.

Maximizing Air Travel Assistance for Seniors with Chronic Health Conditions

Maximizing Air Travel Assistance for Seniors with Chronic Health Conditions

senior air travel assistance

Air travel is difficult for many people, but it especially can take a toll on seniors who suffer from chronic health conditions. One of the best ways to overcome those challenges is to maximize air travel assistance for seniors by providing them support throughout their journey.

For an increasing number of patients, that support comes from flight nurses who work in the field of non-emergency medical transport (NEMT). These experienced RNs specialize in medical flight services for those flying on a commercial airline. They work with people who have difficulty traveling for any number of reasons, including injuries suffered in an accident or chronic medical conditions that hinder mobility.

For seniors, traveling with a flight nurse can provide peace of mind and also practical support in dealing with the many issues that can arise during a flight.

Common Issues Faced By Seniors During a Flight

It’s important to maximize air travel assistance for seniors because of the many different issues they can face during a flight. Some of the common issues include the following.

  • Difficulty breathing. Seniors with respiratory conditions may experience difficulty breathing due to the decreased oxygen levels and dry cabin air on an airplane flying at high altitudes.
  • Dehydration. Low humidity in the airplane cabin can lead to dehydration.
  • Fatigue. Long flights and changes in time zones can cause fatigue for anyone, but it might become especially pronounced in seniors who may already have low energy levels due to their medical condition.
  • Mobility. One of the biggest issues for many seniors is decreased mobility that can lead to difficulties in getting through the airport, going through security and finding comfortable seating on the airplane.
  • Medication management: During a hectic day of air travel, it’s easier for seniors to forget to take certain medications when needed.
  • Emotional stress: Seniors may experience more stress and even anxiety when traveling, especially if they have concerns about a medical issue or travel alone.

How Flight Nurses Support Seniors With Chronic Conditions

Flight nurses and NEMT companies support seniors every step of the way during their air travel. It starts with RN flight coordinators who plan every aspect of a trip, booking all the arrangements. They focus on finding non-stop flights and creating schedules that best suit seniors, including those with chronic health conditions.

The flight nurse will call ahead, making any special arrangements needed, such as wheelchair assistance or early boarding to get the best possible seat on the plane. They may also confer with the client’s primary care physician, getting any information that might prove important during the flight.

Flight nurses also manage all medications and medical equipment a senior requires. These can range from mobility aids to oxygen tanks. 

During the commercial flight, the nurse stays with the client throughout the journey. With training in providing medical care at high altitudes, flight nurses are ready to respond to medical emergencies. They also monitor vital signs and ensure that seniors take their medication as required.

Just as importantly, a flight nurse offers peace of mind and emotional support for seniors, alleviating stress and anxiety by providing reassurance that the seniors have quality care during their journey.

Maximizing air travel assistance for seniors with chronic health conditions involves planning ahead, communicating with the airline and flight crews, managing medical supplies and offering experience on in-flight healthcare. It provides seniors a safer, smoother and more comfortable travel experience.