Among the hundreds of patients you care for every year, some of those patients may be elderly individuals with a medical emergency or injury. It would be a mistake to assume that these patients are just like any other patient, as there may be many age-related issues to consider when providing them with pre-hospital care. As a medical flight paramedic, you need to be equipped with the necessary information to care for and safely transport geriatric patients facing a medical emergency or injury.
Caring for and Transporting Elderly Patients in a Medical Flight
Take a look at some of these tips to help you care for and safely transport a geriatric patient:
- Consider age-related changes in bodily functions – As we grow older, the function of the different organs in our body declines. This means there’s a change in the way our body responses to illnesses and injuries. For instance, there is a much lower capacity to compensate for shock, the bones can break much more easily, and the skin can face a more extensive damage from lacerations and burns. Additionally, head injuries can be much more lethal for elderly patients. All of these and more means that even a simple injury or complaint could have a huge impact on geriatric patients.
- Consider medication-related complaints – Many elderly patients may miss their meds or even take them at a wrong dose. Before transporting them on a medical flight, make sure you double-check their medications. In addition to asking them about it, get the prescription bottles and take them with you to provide to the ER. You could even perform a pill count if the dosage is indicated. Make sure you also have sufficient information about the common side effects of certain medications and their interactions with other medications. For instance, a patient taking blood thinners and suffering from a physical injury could be in danger of internal bleeding.
Whether or not plagued with a serious medical condition, the elderly may find it extremely difficult to travel. They may have to relocate to a different city, visit family, or seek special medical care; commercial flights may just not be suitable for seniors. In such cases, it may be wise for family members to arrange for air ambulance flights that will ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience for them.
Medical Escorts or Air Ambulance Flights
There has been an ongoing debate about whether medical escorts or air ambulance is more suitable for elderly individuals. In a medical escort service, a trained and experienced escort is with your loved one throughout their travel. This can be extremely beneficial for relieving stress and ensuring that they reach their destination safely.
The escort has the necessary training and certification to handle any medical emergencies a patient might encounter along the way. This service is more cost-efficient and easily accessible for most families. However, many seniors may still find it too stressful to travel commercially despite having a trained escort with them.
In air ambulance flights, elderly patients are assured of a safe and comfortable travel experience. These flights are properly equipped with necessary medical facilities such as oxygen, cardiac life support, and IV infusion, which may not be readily available in a commercial flight. Some seniors may require constant medical monitoring if their health or mental condition isn’t too stable. In an air ambulance, the in-flight medical crew is equipped and trained to perform such tasks.
Comprehensive in-flight Care for Elders
Relocating an elderly loved one with an air ambulance helps ensure that they avoid all the airport hassles while receiving top-level care from a trained medical crew. Such services help your customize their travel based on their needs and preferences. Additionally, you can make arrangements with the flight coordinators for ground transportation so as to get comprehensive bedside-to-bedside service for your elderly loved one.