Going the Distance: Long Distance Medical Transportation for Seniors
By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com
Transportation is an essential part of our everyday lives. Most people are so accustomed to driving everywhere that it can be difficult to imagine a future not being able to. As we age, seniors may lose the ability and capacity to drive, especially when it comes to long distances. But that doesn’t mean that long trips are no longer possible! Andrew Brainard, the owner and founder of TransMedCare Long Distance Medical Transportation, a long-distance medical transportation company with home offices located in Orlando and Las Vegas, joined SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast to explain how long-distance medical transportation works and why it’s important for seniors.
What is long-distance medical transportation?
Brainard explained that this transportation entails two types: air and ground. His focus is on ground transportation. Flying can often be a stressful situation for seniors if they are declining cognitively or experiencing medical issues. Ground transportation allows for more personal care during the trip and increased accessibility to using bathroom, providing medication, and even taking a break during the trip if the patient requires. Another benefit is that the senior will be exposed to less people, as contracting illnesses like COVID-19 is a concern. Basically, ground transportation is the better option if seniors are looking for improved comfort care and safety.
The services can be used for any non-emergency reason. Patients can include seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, surgery patients, etc. Perhaps a senior has decided to move to a different facility, different state, or needs to visit a hospital or doctor a few hours away and needs a way to get there. This transportation is also a good option if the senior wants to attend a special event, such as a wedding, but still needs medical care during the trip. Brainard said that seniors might feel like they have no choice but to miss these special events, but with long-distance medical transportation that is not the case! Some seniors may want to stop and sight-see along the way and his company is happy to provide that. He emphasized that compassion is important in this industry, and that his mission is getting patients where they need to go, comfortably and safely.
What kinds of vehicles are typically available?
Every company usually has different sized vehicles available. Smaller vans (such as a Ford Transit or Nissan Cargo) allow for patients to be transported with a two-person crew. These vans have less amenities, but a more affordable price point. Medium size vans can allow for a three-person crew or a family member on board and may have better amenities and increased patient care. The larger vans (like a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or RAM ProMaster) have two beds for the patient and their family member, space for pets, and all-inclusive amenities such as three meals provided. With the larger sized vans, there is an increased comfort level.
What amenities are available on board?
While amenities vary depending on company and size of the van, there are a range of comforts available to patients. Amenities can include TV, bathroom facilities, food and drink, oxygen, wound care, and more. Every service has a stretcher and custom mattresses. Some of TransMedCare’s unique amenities are Netflix, Wi-Fi, cell phone boosters, and privacy curtains. Brainard also insulated the inside of his vans to reduce road noise and maintain ideal temperature conditions. Most services also provide the administration of medication.
What kind of medical staff is on board?
Companies provide different kinds of medical personnel such as CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistant), RNs (Registered Nurse), or paramedics. Brainard recommends CNAs because they can provide personal patient care due to their experience working hands-on at senior facilities. Ultimately, however, it’s about finding the person with the correct training and skills to provide the best care for the patient.
There are different variations of how many people may be on board. Brainard recommended a three-person crew for longer trips. Two drivers (that switch every few hours) oversee making sure everyone gets to the destination safely. And the medical professional is focused on caring for the patient. When there is only one driver, there may be more frequent stops, which can elongate the trip.
How do seniors find a qualified company to fit their needs?
Brainard emphasized to do your research. A challenge in the nonemergency transport industry is that there aren’t many regulations. You do not want to book with the first service you find! Ask for a copy of their insurance and certifications to make sure they have the proper standards in place.
Additionally, ensure they follow strict cleaning procedures. The inside of the van should be sanitized before service to not spread any diseases or illnesses to patients. If they do not have these procedures and explain them to you, they are not the best company to pick.
Another tip is to ask how many years the company has been in business, how many people are on the crew, and what amenities are available for your needs. Look at their online presence, including social media. Are they posting about their crew, success stories, and overall service? What about their reviews? All companies and services receive bad reviews occasionally, the important question is how are they handling those reviews? Brainard recommended using Better Business Bureau when checking out reviews because they offer confirmed reviews by real customers.
Researching and being informed about the services provided will help connect you to the best, safest transport. Then, all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
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