EMS Ambulance 15 Sep 2022
Is medical repatriation safe for our patient?
If you’re currently looking into medical transport for a friend or loved one, you may be feeling a little out of your depth.
If so, that’s completely understandable. International medical repatriation is – thankfully – a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us. But of course that can make the whole process quite confusing.
One of the first questions families have – particularly if their patient is in a serious condition in hospital – is the most basic one of all: is it safe to transport them?
Naturally, the full answer to that question will depend on your own situation and context. But, in general terms, we’re always keen to reassure people about just how secure medical transportation is. So secure in fact that, with the right preparation, it’s suitable for almost all emergency patient situations.
Here are five reasons why we say that.
1) Case-by-case assessment
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all template for medical transports. Each one is totally unique, and needs to be carefully assessed to weigh up the pros and cons of the transfer. That can only be done by gathering the right information – first, by getting as much detail from you as possible, then by talking to the foreign doctors to scrutinize your patient’s current status updates and medical data.
2) Right mode of transport
Whether your patient can travel often comes down to what kind of transport is available to them. Many patients can travel safely on a regular commercial flight, if they’re being supported by a Medical Escort. But the most serious cases may need a high-care air ambulance. These flights are so advanced they can offer ICU-level treatment in-transit if a patient deteriorates suddenly. We also can, and do, change transportations at the last minute if our patient’s condition demands it.
3) Bed-to-bed care
EMS believes in “bed-to-bed repatriation”, because we think patients are safest when the transport company takes full responsibility for every aspect of their care from A to B. “Bed-to-bed” means our Operations Team will keep talking to the destination hospital until they confirm a bed has been properly prepared for them. We also send regular updates on our ETA so their team is ready on arrival.
4) Experienced personnel
Experience is really important on international repatriations, because they’re unlike most other medical scenarios. The Ops Team should include qualified medics to remotely assess your patient and respond to questions. Flight teams need aeromedical expertise and the ability to call up specialists if you require them. And every transport should have a doctor-on-call as a prerequisite – this is a highly experienced medic who can provide 24/7 backup to the transport team if it’s needed.
5) Quality controls
Beneath the surface of your repatriation, there’s a whole structure of checks and balances in place to make sure patient safety is the number one priority. Our quality regime is rooted in ISO 9001:2015, an internationally-recognised standard for quality management. It covers everything from health and safety procedures to deep-cleaning processes, customer care and accountability. You can read more about this in the Quality section of our website, or in the article below.
Need to talk? We’re here to help! If you have any questions, or are just feeling confused about the whole concept of medical repatriation, please get in touch with us. Our experts are available 24/7 to talk or correspond with you. Head to our Contact page for all the details. You can also get a free, no-obligation cost estimate for your repatriation with our online pricing calculator.