Aeromedical transport is highly specialized, and air ambulance services are critical for emergency evacuations. However, during the recovery phase of an illness or catastrophic event, many patients can safely travel on a commercial airliner with the assistance of our skilled and licensed registered nurse medical escorts.
Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities lack an established travel assistance program, leading to minimal clinical expertise in assessing a patient's transport needs. This can result in unnecessary prolonged hospital stays and increased costs. Some patients or organizations may resort to private air ambulance companies, which can be unjustifiably expensive. Others may travel home with medically untrained family members with little or no aeromedical transport experience.
With over two decades of commercial flight experience, we conduct a thorough evaluation and determine the safest mode of transportation for your patient to reach their desired destination. Our medical escort service includes comprehensive medical travel assistance that prioritizes the care and safety of your patients throughout the entire journey.
As a case manager, you can rest assured that Flying Nurses International provides exceptional medical escort services that takes the burden of planning off your hands. Our Nurse Coordinators are specially trained to assess patients for travel and offer comprehensive evaluations, recommendations, and assistance in implementing the transfer process.
We handle all ground and commercial airline transportation, ensuring patients receive seamless, secure bedside-to-bedside transport. Safety is our top priority, and we adopt a conservative approach in all aspects of our medical escort service. We meet all FAA safety criteria and have implemented stringent safety protocols to prioritize the well-being of patients during the entire journey.
For medical escort services, please contact us by phone, email, or through our website's Transport Inquiry Form. We strive to be travel-ready within 48-72 hours, depending on the specific needs of the patient and flight availability.
Our medical escort service begins with reviewing the patient's medical requirements to determine if commercial transport is suitable. We will then provide you with a preliminary quote for your consideration.
If we find that the patient is not yet ready for transport due to mobility or oxygen impairments, we will advise you on how to prepare your patient. Our goal is to see that patients receive the highest level of care and support during their journey to reach their desired destination safely and comfortably.
We make medical travel assistance planning simple. Once you are ready to proceed, all you need is the agreement of the patient's family and healthcare team, a receiving facility, and the proposed travel date.
Once we have these details, you will work with our skilled RN Flight Coordinator, who will handle all aspects of medical escort transport planning for you. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that every detail of your patient's journey is taken care of, so you can focus on what matters most - the care and well-being of your patients.
Request an official medical report from the patient’s hospital records and a verbal nursing report from the health care member caring for the patient. The purpose of this is to ascertain if the patient is deemed fit to travel. After review, we will immediately make recommendations for the healthcare team to prepare the patient for travel.
Begin securing a proposed airline itinerary for the date you desire. Immediate consideration is given to ordering airline oxygen due to a 48-hour minimum notice required by carriers. We will speak with the medical department for oxygen and special medical requests. We have long term trustworthy relationships with US and international carriers which helps to expedite these procedures.
Confirm the availability of our flight nurse staff and select a nurse to travel based on the location closest to the sending or receiving facility. The nurse is also selected based on the needs of the patient.
Coordinate communication channels between hospital administration, family members, medical staff, interdisciplinary teams, case managers, insurance companies, and financial institutions.
Advise the health care team, patient, and family on the necessary steps to prepare the patient for a commercial flight.
Request specific medical orders and medical clearance documents from the discharging physician.
Organize each additional travel detail from ground transportation, layover assistance, ground and in-flight oxygen, specialized medical equipment, and offer guidance and assistance in obtaining international travel documents.
Preparing your patient:
Oxygen: Begin weaning your patient’s oxygen level to the advised safe level for transport. Utilize your respiratory therapy interdisciplinary team. We generally request supplemental in-flight oxygen with any patient with a SAO2<95%. This will be dependent on the baseline range of the patient, along with the physician’s recommendation.
Secretions: We can manage tracheotomy patients. However, secretions cannot be tenacious or frequent. Secretions drastically dry up at altitude causing mucous plugs. Utilize your respiratory therapy team. Cultures, antibiotic therapy, and pulmonary regimen will be reviewed.
Mobility: Begin getting your patient out of bed each day or several times a day to a reclining chair. Utilize your physical therapy interdisciplinary team. Your patient does not have to support themselves in an upright position. We have options to assist. What is crucial is that your patient does not have clinical compromise when sitting, such as a drop in blood pressure, respiratory compromise, or unmanageable pain.
IVs: We can manage maintenance fluids. We cannot titrate drips for cardiac stability. This type of patient would be deemed too unstable for a commercial airline. TPN can be changed to D5 or D5/NS at the physician’s discretion. Wean IVs if possible.
NG/GT/J Tubes: They are accepted for travel. Any tube feedings will be stopped 8-10 hrs pre-flight with a bowel prep requested. During transport, the patient can be hydrated with free water via these tubes or IV access.
Pain Management: We can administer IV, PO, SQ, or IM injections and IV bolus’ as needed. Mobility and pain management is a common reason to utilize our services. Begin finding a medication regimen that works with a trial in the hospital setting. The day of departure is not the time to suggest options.
Equipment: All equipment must be portable and battery-operated. Some of the larger aircraft have plug-in options for primarily electronic audio/video equipment. This is NOT designed for dependent medical equipment.
Our medical escorts adhere to a comprehensive medical treatment plan that prioritizes the safety and well-being of our patients. Under the direction of the discharging physician's medical orders, we administer medical treatment as prescribed. The sending facility prescribes and dispenses medications according to these medical orders.
We ensure that all necessary Fitness to Fly and Airline Medical Clearances are obtained from the discharging physician and the airline carrier's medical department. In the event of an in-flight emergency, our skilled medical escort nurses are trained to perform emergency treatment following American Heart Association Basic Life Support standards.
We're available 7 days a week to provide medical travel assistance. Our team can be ready to travel within 48-72 hours, depending on patient needs and flight availability.
Contact us today.
*Flying Nurses International is not affiliated or otherwise associated with InteliStaf or its “Flying Nurses” travel nurse staffing division.*
We are eager to offer any information that we may have in assisting you with this complex and timely process.