Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by Randy Cherry
It may come as a surprise, but the long distance medical transport industry is seeing a rise in the geriatric patients it transports, including by air. By 2060, the number of geriatric patients in America is expected to reach 98 million, so knowing how to safely and effectively transport them is more important than ever. Here are some tips for transporting geriatric patients by air safely.
Keep Them Hydrated
Be sure to keep geriatric patients hydrated as much as possible. The reason for this is that, while hospitalized, geriatric patients tend to become dehydrated, which can complicate their health issues. This is due in part to the fact that the body’s water content decreases as you get older. Fortunately, water is not the only way to keep elderly patients hydrated; skin lotion can also be helpful in this regard.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
No one likes being kept in the dark about their health. It is important to calmly and politely answer any questions geriatric patients may have, explain what will be done to to them and why, and – perhaps most importantly – build trust with them so they will more readily share information. If the patient does not see their care provider as competent, they may shut them down and refuse to cooperate. It is also crucial for a care provider to be professional at all times.
Let Them Bring a Friend or Family Member
Whenever possible, let the patient bring a friend or family member along to help them keep calm and stay comfortable. This is especially important with geriatric patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; the person that comes with them may be able to provide important information that the patient cannot. One important thing to take into account is the possibility of the patient’s friend or loved one being just as frail as they are. A skilled care provider will plan to take similar measures as they would with the patient in question.
Keep Them Comfortable
Depending on what ailments they may have, geriatric patients can be more sensitive to environmental elements like temperature. It’s definitely a good idea to frequently ask if the patient is comfortable and remedy the situation if they aren’t. Keeping the patient comfortable also ensures they stay as calm as possible in a potentially embarrassing or stressful situation.
Keep the Oxygen Handy
It’s little surprise that geriatric patients may need oxygen. This is especially true of elderly asthmatic patients, who can suffer from an attack from a moment’s notice. Keeping oxygen visible and ready can help set asthmatic patients at ease and help them calm down if they’ve just had an attack. Be prepared to also offer breathing treatments, especially if the trip may take a little while. Even with healthier patients, oxygen is still incredibly helpful for adjusting to altitude changes.
Be Delicate When Lifting or Moving
This should go without saying, but geriatric patients need extra care when moving or transporting them. Geriatric patients are at especially high risk for bone fracture from falls or strong collisions, so this must be among any care provider’s top priorities when transporting them. They should use anything they can to protect them during transport, be it pillows, towels, bedding or anything else that may be handy.
Why Your Choice of Care Provider Matters
When your loved ones need to be transported to another medical care facility by air, it is important that they have the experience, qualifications and equipment needed to get them transported quickly and safely. Medical Transport Services has more than 75 years of combined experience, so you can rest assured they put patient safety and comfort above all else. In some cases your insurance plan may reimburse you for a Medical Transport insurance plans, offer free quotes, and offer you reasonable rates. We’re also employee-owned and -operated, so we’ll treat your family like our own.