Embarking on a medical flight, whether for critical or non-critical care, often marks a profound and intense journey, physically and emotionally. Imagine grappling with the uncertainty and fragility of a medical condition – it’s like navigating a stormy sea in the dark, where every wave of doubt and fear threatens to overwhelm you. Now add to this the prospect of a flight in a small, confined aircraft.
The journey on a non-emergency medical flight underscores the importance of compassion, care, and medical expertise delivered in the skies. As you travel through the clouds, you’re not just moving across geographies but traversing the emotional landscape of hope, anxiety, courage, and the deep human desire for a few more moments of health.
Each organization has specific requirements. For example, a video outlines what to expect when using the services of LifeLine Pilots.
Continue reading for tips on how to get ready for the journey that will empower you with knowledge and confidence, making your medical flight a more comfortable and less stressful experience.
Physical Preparation for the Flight
In addition to these general physical preparations, always check with the service providing the flight for any specific requirements.
Pre-Flight Medical Clearance and Health Preparation
Obtain Comprehensive Medical Clearance:
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your fitness for air travel.
Ensure that your medical documentation is up-to-date and includes any necessary clearance certificates.
Stability of Medical Condition:
Confirm with your healthcare provider that your medical condition is stable enough for the stresses of air travel.
Discuss potential in-flight health risks and how to mitigate them.
Medications and Medical Equipment Management
Organized Medication Packing:
Prepare a detailed list of all your medications, including dosages and times.
Coordination for Special Medical Equipment:
If you require special equipment, like oxygen tanks or mobility aids, contact the airline well in advance. Because many providers of non-emergency medical flights are small aircraft, there are limitations to bringing medical equipment.
Provide the flight team with specific details about your equipment, such as size, weight, and any special handling instructions.
Ensuring Comfort and Accessibility During Flight
Comfortable Travel Clothing:
Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing to stay comfortable during the flight.
Consider compression stockings if recommended by your healthcare provider to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Seating Arrangements & Flight Companions:
All passengers must be able to sit upright in a standard aircraft seat.
Adult passengers are generally permitted to bring a companion on the flight, while children are allowed up to two companions. Companions must be at least 16 and capable of providing necessary assistance during the flight.
In-Flight Comfort Measures:
Depending on available space, passengers can bring items that enhance their comfort, such as a neck pillow, noise-canceling headphones, or a light blanket.
Emotional Preparation for the Flight
Understanding the Process
Familiarize yourself with the flight process.
Ask the flight coordinator questions to ease anxiety.
Stay connected with loved ones.
If there’s space, consider bringing a familiar item for comfort.
Choosing the Right Service
Research and Reviews
Look for reputable, non-emergency medical flight services.
Read reviews and testimonials.
Cost and Insurance
Understand the cost and insurance coverage. Many non-emergency medical flight services, like LifeLine Pilots, are free.
Discuss payment options with the service provider.
Help Us Ensure Everyone Can Access Medical Care
Preparing for a non-emergency medical flight requires careful planning and consideration of physical and emotional needs. By following these guidelines, patients can ensure a safer and more comfortable journey.
Serving the Midwest, LifeLine’s volunteer pilots complete hundreds of missions annually, bringing patients to and from lifesaving medical care. They donate their time, expertise, and aircraft use and cover all the expenses necessary to ensure that people needing medical and humanitarian assistance are supported.
LifeLine Pilots was founded on the principle that everyone, regardless of income or location, should be able to access quality healthcare. LifeLine Pilots receives no government funding. Instead, volunteer pilots support LifeLine Pilots by donating millions in flight time and planes ($1.6 million last year alone)!
LifeLine Pilots can make these flights available due to the generosity of individuals, businesses, and foundations. There are so many ways you can help. Your monetary contribution, or even your time as a volunteer, can ensure that a person gets the healthcare they need.