Can bed-bound patients fly? What is a safe traveling option?

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How can someone who cannot move from one room to another on his own fly across continents? Is life so restrictive for bed-bound patients that they cannot travel, whether short or long distances? The simple answer to this question is No. While bed-bound patients are at a disadvantage, this does not mean that they are confined to the four walls of their room. 

Looking at the medical complications that may cause someone to be bedridden or on bed rest, this article will explore why it might be necessary for a bed-bound patient to travel and the options that are available to him. A bed-bound patient can fly either on a stretcher with a medical escort on a commercial flight or on air ambulances. Both options are suitable depending on the patient’s condition. 

Bed-bound patients: bed-ridden or on bed rest? 

When looking at the diseases that might incapacitate someone from moving, it is important to distinguish between a bedridden patient and someone on bed rest. While both of them are bed-bound, their circumstances, medical condition and recovery chances vary greatly. 

A patient on bed rest has to lie down at all times as part of medical treatment to try to cure a particular illness. It is a form of a rest cure. In this case, the patient is contained to his bed on a short-term basis only. In some cases, the bed rest is voluntary. 

patient on bedrest

In the case of a bedridden patient, the medical condition of the patient is more serious. Most of the time, the patient is disabled and his movements are restricted to a severe extent. With functional mobility being strongly affected, recovery for these patients is very slow or even impossible.

Medical conditions causing someone to become bed-bound

What causes someone to become bedbound? What are the medical conditions that may incapacitate the mobility of an individual, either on a short-term or long-term basis?

Some of the most common conditions requiring bed rest are: 

  • Severe back pain
  • Knee injury 
  • Fractures
  • Surgery
  • Weakness from a debilitating condition
  • Pregnancy

These are temporary conditions that may get better with time, allowing you to resume your life as usual afterward. 

How can you become bedridden? The following are some examples of medical emergencies that can cause a person to become bedridden: 

  • Stroke
  • Severe brain damage
  • Spinal cord injury 
  • Myasthenia Gravis- a condition causing muscle weakness
  • Stage 4 acute COPD

Flying for bed-bound patients: why is it necessary? 

A bed-bound patient is pretty restricted in their daily activities. It can be quite complex for them to move a few kilometers away, with their movements and functionality being limited. This implies being contained in their home, a hospice or a healthcare facility. 

However, there are many cases when traveling, short or long distances, are necessary, even for bed-ridden patients. Examples of such situations are: 

  • Traveling abroad for treatment: The patient may have to travel to another country to obtain higher quality treatment currently not available. 
  • Traveling back home: In case of a medical complication while on holiday or business abroad, the patient needs to come back home. 
  • Transfer between hospitals and homes: Transfers between different healthcare facilities or house.
  • Traveling to meet relatives: Traveling to meet relatives and loved ones, 

Can bed-bound persons fly? 

The most important question that comes up when speaking about traveling for someone bed-ridden or on bed rest is “Can he fly safely without any complication”. Would this be possible on commercial flights? This can only be determined by a doctor. As such, the first thing to do when planning a flight for a bed-bound person is to consult your doctor so that he can assess whether the patient is fit-to-fly. Depending on the person’s conditions, there are two different flight options available for bed-bound patients: a stretcher on a commercial flight with a medical escort and air ambulances. 

Traveling on a commercial flight for a bed-bound person

Patients are unaware but flying on a stretcher on a commercial plane is possible for many bedridden patients. Medical Air Service can organize such flights for you wherever you are across the globe. What does it entail exactly? 

When opting for our commercial medical escort service, you will be accompanied by our medical escort on a commercial flight. For bed-bound patients, the request to install a stretcher must be made to the airline company. The latter might take a couple of days to deliberate and approve or decline the request. 

patient on stretcher in plane

If approved the stretcher will be installed on the plane in lieu of a few seats which will be removed. A screen will also be in place to protect the privacy of the patient. Throughout the flight, a medical escort, which is an experienced professional, will be alongside the patient. His role is to assist and monitor the condition of the patient at all times. 

Air ambulance for bed-bound patients: a safer option

A safer, faster and more reliable option of traveling for bed-bound patients is via air ambulances. These are medical flights that are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and medical professionals to ensure that the patient is taken care of throughout the flight. 

An air ambulance is a private plane. This means that it is dedicated to the patient only. There will be no other passengers on board the place. This offers an added level of privacy and comfort. 

An air ambulance, since it is a private jet, can be deployed according to the schedule of the patient. This removes both the need to wait for a commercial airline company to give approval and the risk of the firm refusing to have the patient onboard the plane. 

An air ambulance is equipped in such a way that even ICU patients can travel long distances safely, with the necessary precautions taken to cater to medical emergencies. 

Why is an air ambulance safer for bedbound patients? 

As it is, being on bed rest or being bedridden implies that the patient is already suffering from an existing medical condition. On top of that, there are several complications that might occur, independently of the existing medical condition. 

Some medical conditions that are commonly linked to patients being bedridden for a long time are: 

  • Muscles weakness
  • Muscle shortness
  • Pressure sores (bed ulcerations)
  • Respiratory problems (lung infection)
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Bone demineralization

To ensure that the health of a bedbound patient does not deteriorate and that the person remains fit, proper physiotherapy and care are needed. 

Considering the number of medical complications that might come up for bedbound patients, an air ambulance is the safer option for patients to travel

air ambulance international

The air ambulances of Medical Air Service: 

  • Have the necessary medical equipment 
  • Have doctors and paramedics on board to provide treatment and care
  • Are private jets
  • Can be deployed according to the patient’s schedule
  • Are operational worldwide

Our bed-to-bed service: ground transportation for bed-bound patients before and after a medical flight. 

As an added benefit for bed-bound patients, Medical Air Services offers a bed-to-bed service. This means that we can collect the patient from either his home or hospital, carry him to a ground ambulance, in which he will be transferred by medical professionals. 

At the airport, the air ambulance will already be waiting and the transfer to the plane will once again be done by medical professionals. The same process is reversed on landing. This means that the patient is under the care of medical professionals at every step of the way. 

Contact us if you are bed-bound and you need an air ambulance 

If you are bedridden, on bed rest or have any issue with mobility, get in touch with us. Our agents are available at all times to listen to you and advise you on the best solution for you. 

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