Ensuring That a Long-Distance Trip with a Dementia Patient Is Successful
Many people who embark on air travel are thrilled by the experience of being above ground. However, traveling by air is somewhat overwhelming for people living with dementia. Most times, people with dementia need to move close to their families to receive the best care possible. Deciding to travel long-distance by road seems too much for a dementia patient to handle.
When you consider the number of restroom stops they have to make and staying at motels, booking a medical transport service may be the best option. Air travel is typically the best option for such scenarios as it ensures that a skilled medical escort accompanies your loved one. Here are some things your medical transport service provider needs to know.
1. What level of assistance does the patient need?
People living with dementia have difficulty caring for themselves. They may find it hard to bathe, feed or even go to the toilet independently. They also need to take medications, and some of them are depressed or display aggressive behaviors. Depending on their level of independence, we might recommend that a medical escort accompanies them.
2. Are there equipment needed by the patient?
If a patient needs a wheelchair for mobility, then you need to contact us for some form of wheelchair assistance to ensure successful boarding. In some cases, the patient requires oxygen. A physician has to provide the patient with a consent form. If the trip is an international one, you should note that authorization for an oxygen tank needs to be delivered three days before departure.
3. Has the patient been assessed?
Hiring a medical escort without knowing whether the patient can remember their family members or loved ones seems like a pretty bad idea. A medical transport service provider needs to know crucial medical and psychological details about the patient before assigning a medical escort. Is the patient confused? Does the patient have any worrisome symptoms? The answers to these questions will provide the medical transport service provider with a good description of the patient and the most suitable personnel for the patient’s needs.
What should you do to ensure the journey is successful?
In some cases, you might not want the services of a medical escort. You prefer to accompany your loved one on the journey. If you prefer the latter, you should know that people with dementia get uncomfortable in unfamiliar places. Here are a few suggestions we hope you will find useful:
1. Organize wheelchair assistance: Airlines stipulate that you provide a 2-day prior notice when a wheelchair is necessary for a patient.
2. Do not leave the person’s side throughout the journey: It is common for dementia patients to confuse and lose their way. They may also be scared since they are in unfamiliar environments. Staying with them throughout the journey ensures you don’t get to file a missing person’s report at the police station.
3. Take along an itinerary: Ensure that you document the flight schedules and information on a smartphone or a piece of paper.
4. Bring along all the essentials: From medications to change of clothes and body, ensure that patients have everything they need for survival and secondarily for comfort.
A lot of preparation often goes into planning a long-distance trip with a loved one living with dementia. There might be some unexpected turns, but following helpful tips and suggestions recommended in this article will go a long in ensuring your loved one has a hitch-free ride.