Health-Related Travel: The Benefits of a Medical Escort

Health-Related Travel: The Benefits of a Medical Escort

Health Related Travel

Journeys related to health care or medical needs can be filled with uncertainty and challenges. For those with medical conditions or those in need of special assistance, the prospect of such travel is often daunting. This is where the concept of a medical escort comes into play.

A medical escort is a trained professional who accompanies travelers, providing medical expertise, assistance, and peace of mind throughout the journey. It can help people in various circumstances, including seniors relocating for health reasons, those who need to travel for treatments, and those with chronic medical conditions or disabilities that impede mobility.

What Does a Medical Escort Do?

A medical escort is a skilled and well-trained nurse who accompanies patients during their medical journeys, typically on commercial flights. Companies like Flying Angels that specialize in medical transport exclusively hire flight nurses with extensive experience in emergency room and acute care settings.

Medical escorts fulfill various roles, including emergency response. For instance, they provide vital assistance to individuals involved in accidents or affected by health crises, ensuring their condition remains stable until they reach a medical facility. Additionally, medical escorts can be present during non-emergency medical transportation situations.

Regardless of the scenario, the role of a medical escort is undeniably challenging. These professionals often find themselves traveling alone with a sick or injured patient at altitudes of 35,000 feet, requiring a high level of competence, adaptability, and composure.

How a Medical Escort Benefits Travelers

The primary benefit of having a medical escort is the presence of expert medical care throughout the journey. Whether a client has a chronic medical condition, requires regular medication, or needs specialized equipment, a medical escort is equipped to handle their needs. They can administer medications, monitor vital signs, and provide immediate medical attention if necessary, ensuring that a client’s health is the utmost priority.

Other benefits include the following.

Personalized Assistance

A medical escort understands that every traveler’s needs are unique. From assisting with mobility issues to ensuring a smooth transition during airport security checks, a medical escort offers personalized assistance tailored for each person’s requirements. This level of care helps alleviate stress, allowing individuals to focus on their health-related objectives rather than logistical challenges.

Reduced Travel Anxiety

Medical-related travel, especially for those with conditions, can often trigger anxiety about potential complications or emergencies. With a medical escort, this anxiety is greatly reduced. Knowing that a trained professional is ready to manage any medical situation provides a sense of security and peace of mind, making the journey smoother.

Seamless Coordination

Coordinating medical needs, travel logistics, and accommodations can be overwhelming. A medical escort takes care of these details seamlessly. They contact airlines, hotels, and other service providers to ensure the journey is as smooth as possible. This removes the stress of managing various aspects of the trip and lets clients focus on the experience itself.

Access to Medical Facilities

Traveling to unfamiliar destinations can raise concerns about accessing medical facilities in emergencies. A medical escort is well-versed in local healthcare resources and can guide clients to reputable medical centers when needed. This knowledge ensures timely and appropriate medical attention, regardless of the destination.

Companionship and Emotional Support

Traveling for medical reasons can be emotionally taxing. Having a medical escort provides not only medical assistance but also companionship and emotional support. They are there to listen, engage in conversations, and offer solace, making the journey more bearable.

Customized Itineraries

A medical escort, understanding medical needs and limitations, offers guidance tailored to health-focused journeys. They ensure all aspects of the trip are aligned with the individual’s health requirements and constraints.

Peace of Mind for Loved Ones

For family members and loved ones concerned about a client’s well-being during their journey, a medical escort offers reassurance. They provide regular updates and ensure that medical needs are addressed, giving peace of mind to those at home.

A medical escort can transform a health-focused journey from a source of stress and worry into a smooth and organized experience. For those considering medical relocations, treatments in different locations, or any health-related travel, a medical escort’s expertise is invaluable.

Supporting Elderly Parents During Air Travel

Supporting Elderly Parents During Air Travel

Elderly airline tips

Elderly parents often find the prospect of air travel daunting. From navigating airports to dealing with long flights, older travelers can find the experience physically and emotionally demanding. However, by following proven tips for supporting elderly parents during air travel, it’s possible to ensure their journey is as smooth and comfortable as possible.

Many elderly travelers worry about the airport screening process or mobility issues. While these are valid concerns, it’s important that they do not keep seniors from enjoying travel. In some cases, having a travel companion along for the trip can make it much more relaxing and enjoyable. However, whether they travel alone or with a companion, the following elderly airline tips also can help make the journey less stressful.

Ways to Support Elderly Parents During Air Travel

One of the most important reasons to follow tips for supporting elderly parents during air travel is peace of mind. When seniors travel alone, especially if they have limited mobility, their family or caregivers may worry about their well-being. By following smart tips and providing support and assistance, they can have more peace of mind, knowing their elderly parents are well cared for during their travels.

Plan Ahead and Communicate

The first step is to plan the trip well in advance, ensuring that you accommodate the specific needs of your parents. It’s a smart move to inform the airline in advance (such as when purchasing tickets) about any mobility issues, medical conditions, or special requirements your parents may have. Also, get a seat with extra legroom or proximity to the restroom, if possible. Make a point of speaking with the airline or airport about arranging wheelchair assistance and other support services at both the departure and arrival airports.

Carry-On Medications and Essentials

A key step when elderly parents travel is to pack their medications, necessary medical equipment, and personal essentials, in a carry-on bag. This allows them easy access to medication during the flight. Also, if there is a delay or lost luggage, they won’t be left without their essential items. They should pack medications in original labeled containers and carry any required medical documentation or prescriptions.

Mobility Assistance

Some of the biggest concerns for older travelers revolve around mobility, especially those who experience difficulty moving and standing for long periods or those with chronic health conditions. To address this issue,  request airport assistance or arrange for a wheelchair to be available at all points of the journey. This allows elderly parents the ability to more easily navigate airport terminals comfortably, as well as reducing the risk of falls or excessive fatigue.

Layer Clothing

Anyone with elderly parents knows they experience temperature changes more profoundly. They should consider wearing loose, comfortable clothing . They also should dress in layers, allowing them to add or remove clothes depending on the temperature inside the airport or airplane. Also, comfortable footwear with slip-on features or adjustable closures make it more convenient to get through security checks and walk through the airport.

Stay Hydrated and Nourished

Air travel can lead to dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and discomfort. Elderly parents should drink plenty of water before, during, and after a flight. It’s also helpful to pack healthy snacks or meals in a carry-on bag so they are handy throughout the flight. For longer flights, it’s important to note some airlines provide special meal options for those with specific dietary needs.

Offer Emotional Support and Patience

This is perhaps the most important advice for supporting elderly parents during air travel. It’s the foundation for all the other tips. Whether they say it or not, elderly parents may feel overwhelmed by air travel. Offering them emotional support, reassurance, patience and understanding can help reduce their stress and make the entire process run much more smoothly. 

Remember to stay calm and organized to help reduce your parents’ stress levels. Check in with them often, address their concerns, and make them feel comfortable and supported. That’s the best way you can support them as they prepare for air travel.

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.

Travel Companion 

Travel Companion 

Flying Angels provides medical travel companion services for individuals who may need assitance while flying on a commercial airline.