Hip fracture on holiday

Just one unfortunate fall can quickly lead to a femoral neck fracture (broken hip), especially with older people. Bones can lose strength as we get older and thus the risk increases. In young people, femoral neck fractures are rarer, but can occur, particularly after traffic accidents or serious falls.

Hip fracture on holiday

Of course, a femoral neck fracture can also occur on holiday. Various risk factors can increase the probability:

  • In contrast to your own four walls, your hotel on holiday is an unfamiliar environment. Here, it is much easier to trip over the edge of a rug or stumble on a step.
  • Many tourists undertake risky activities on holiday: climbing tours, jumping off fairly high cliffs into the sea, kite surfing or quad bike excursions. As a result, accidents that might lead to a femoral neck fracture are much more likely.
  • Traffic on the road is not equally safe at every holiday destination. Tourists can easily get caught up in traffic accidents because they do not know local traffic regulations or are taken by surprise by the risky driving style of some of the locals.

Treatment of a hip fracture

Surgery is usually unavoidable where femoral neck fractures are concerned. Only rarely can conservative treatment be applied to such a break. Both the operation and the subsequent mobilisation of the patient should be carried out as soon as possible after the accident. After all, in in the event of an unfavourable outcome, the patient's mobility can be permanently restricted and even chronic pain is a real possibility if the fracture is not treated properly.

This is why in most cases the operation takes place while the patient is still in the holiday country. But for the subsequent recovery phase, many patients want rapid medical repatriation. After all, communicating with the medical team is easier in your own country and friends and family can provide the patient with moral support. In addition, older patients are often in poor general health after a femoral neck fracture operation, and therefore need the best possible medical care. This is often not feasible in the holiday country.

In some cases, patients actually prefer to have the operation itself in their home country. This is especially true if the patient lacks confidence in the doctors at the holiday destination. Unfortunately, medical standards in many holiday countries are not as high as they could be, so that a timely medical repatriation before surgery can make sense. However, this should be done as soon as possible after the injury because only swift treatment promises the best chance of a full recovery.

Will my insurance pay for the medical repatriation?

Statutory national health insurance basically excludes cover for medical repatriation. Only people who have a separate travel insurance policy can hope for reimbursement. Many policies only cover repatriations that are strictly medically necessary. Thus, a medical repatriation would only take place if appropriate treatment is not available in the holiday country. However, the treatment of a femoral neck fracture is basically possible in most countries.

Some insurance companies are willing to take over the costs if it is 'only' a medically justifiable repatriation. In such cases, treatment in the holiday country may be possible, but better outcomes are to be expected in the home country. With respect to a femoral neck fracture, many cases are indeed medically justifiable: the better and faster patients are treated, the more likely they are to regain full mobility.

Will my insurance pay?

Reaction times can also be a problem when it comes to insurance companies agreeing to take over costs. Due to bureaucratic processes, it may take several days for the insurance company to reach a decision. During this time the patient will not be receiving the best treatment and valuable time will be lost which could otherwise be used for mobilisation.

If the insurance company refuses the claim or if the decision-making process takes too long, many patients decide on a privately organised medical repatriation.

What is the most suitable mode of transport?

The possibilities for a return from abroad after a femoral neck fracture depend on the patient's state of health. The following means of transport may be considered:

Air ambulance

If the operation has not yet been performed or if the patient is in poor general health after surgery, then only an air ambulance is considered suitable for transporting the patient. Aircraft can be deployed very quickly, often on the same day, and are available worldwide. Thus, the required operation can be carried out as soon as possible in the patient's home country. Due to the presence of medical personnel and modern equipment on board, even patients who are in a poor general state of health can often be transported safely by air ambulance.

Scheduled airliner

If, following femoral neck fracture surgery, the patient is in a stable condition, his or her medical repatriation can take place on board a scheduled airliner. Here, however, a lead time of one to two days is required. The patient spends the flight on a patient stretcher bed, which is specially installed for the journey in the aircraft. A medical flight attendant – either a paramedic or a doctor – takes care of the patient's well-being on board. Due to the lead time, which is required for medical clarification with the scheduled airline, a patient transport on board a scheduled airliner is only an option following a successful operation. If this transport method were used in advance, the operation would be delayed for too long due to the waiting time.

Advantages of using the Medical Air Service

In cases of femoral neck fracture, time is of the essence if optimal treatment results are to be achieved. We are available for you 24 hours a day, even at weekends and on public holidays, so no time is wasted, and we can organise your air ambulance flight as soon as possible.

Our highly competent, international team is available for you worldwide and can communicate with local medical staff in their local language almost anywhere in the world. This allows us to overcome language barriers and relieve you of much of the organisational effort. Our ambulance fleet is stationed at strategic points around the world so we can provide you with an air ambulance in any situation in a timely manner. This way, you can rely on a fast, safe patient transport.

Of course, we do not only organise the air ambulance flight but also the entire patient transport from bed to bed. We pick up the patient in a ground ambulance or emergency vehicle and bring him or her safely to the airport. Following the ambulance flight, a ground ambulance or emergency vehicle is ready and waiting at the destination airport to take the patient to the receiving hospital. We coordinate all departure and pick-up times, thereby avoiding unnecessary delays.

Any further questions?

We have provided plenty of additional information in our FAQ, including useful facts about the organisation of ambulance flights and what happens at each stage of the process.

Contact us

We are available for you 24/7 and will be happy to advise you free of charge. Upon request, we will be glad to calculate the costs for your medical repatriation without obligation. Please contact us:

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