EMS Ambulance 21 Apr 2021
Medical repatriation can be a complicated and sensitive undertaking, so it’s vital to choose an organisation that brings deep experience and the very highest standards of care to the process. Every medical journey – whether it’s by private aeroplane, road ambulance or with a medical escort on a commercial airline – needs to be very carefully planned and implemented by the repatriation company. So when you pick up the phone and make first contact, what should they be offering as part of the service? Here are four things that, in EMS Ambulance’s view, are absolutely key…
A bed-to-bed service
One of the first things you should ask a repatriation company is whether they provide a “bed-to-bed service”. This basically means they’ll take care of the transportation for the entire journey, not just for the main flight or the road trip. If you’re thinking about handling part of the route yourself – a taxi to the airport, say, or a lift to the final destination – we would advise against it. For one thing, the company you use should be on hand to provide medical assistance at any point during the repatriation. This can be absolutely vital if a patient’s condition deteriorates unexpectedly, for example. It also greatly reduces the risk of complications or confusion during the journey – every repatriation involves medical reports, permissions, airport clearances and medical handover documents, so it’s much better if these are all kept with a single provider. This is something EMS Ambulance provides as part of the service. We literally handle everything, from securing the right permissions in the departure country to liaising with your destination hospital and making sure there’s a bed ready when you arrive.
A lightning-fast response
When it comes to medical treatment, the speed of the turnaround can be critical. Once you’ve made the decision to repatriate a loved one, you’ll want the trip to get underway as quickly as possible so they can get back home for treatment. This is even more important, obviously, in an emergency situation. A good repatriation company takes speed-of-response extremely seriously, and they should be reacting immediately from the moment you pick up the phone to request a quotation. At EMS Ambulance, we aim to return cost quotations within 60 minutes of the first contact. Under normal circumstances, we would expect to be at your patient’s bedside within 24 to 48 hours at the latest. In critical situations, a fast turnaround can make all the difference to a person’s recovery.
The right team for the job
It goes without saying that your repatriation company should provide a qualified medic on the flight or road trip. But what kind of medic? EMS sends two medical personnel as standard on every repatriation – a doctor and an advanced paramedic in the case of air ambulances. (Our air ambulance doctors usually have at least 10 years' experience.) Those personnel are also qualified ‘aeromedics’, which means they have been specially trained to monitor and deliver treatment to patients in a high-altitude environment (altitude can have a number of impacts on the body). If your journey is by medical escort on a commercial flight, the advanced paramedic or physician we supply will be qualified to bring and use equipment and medicines, and to carry out treatment on board if it ever proves necessary. It’s important to be flexible around the patient’s circumstances too. If you needed to repatriate a child, for example, we would send a fully qualified paediatric team. And if your patient is COVID-positive, we’ll carry out the entire transportation in full isolation. Whatever specialist care you need, we can make sure it’s there for you during the trip.
A bed-to-bed service should mean exactly that. When you arrive at the destination hospital, your repatriation team should be seeing you safely all the way to hospital bed or operating theatre. At EMS, there’s a special protocol for carrying out the handover to the destination medics. This includes all the necessary paperwork and an overview of the patient’s condition on our arrival, along with a detailed report of what happened during the journey – their vital signs, the treatment they received, any medications they were given, and so on. We always make a point of staying in touch with our patients after we leave them too. Within 24 to 48 hours, we’ll follow up with you to see how things are going. We can also help out if your insurance company needs additional information about the transport. Wherever you are in the world, wherever you’re going, it’s important to know that your repatriation company will be there for you every step of the way.
If you’re searching for a medical repatriation company and need to know how it works and what’s involved, get in touch today and ask us for all the details. We’ll be delighted to help. You can call us direct or send us an email. Alternatively, drop us a message on WhatsApp.