If your loved one becomes seriously ill while traveling

Taking Mom to visit family this holiday? You may rest more easily knowing there are options for getting home if she gets sick or injured on the trip.

Air Ambulance
If your family member becomes critically ill, hire an air ambulance. An air ambulance is a chartered plane or other aircraft outfitted with life-support equipment. It is also staffed by a full medical team. It’s the answer if Mom needs treatment immediately at another location or if her health is very fragile.

Medical escorts
If your loved one is stable but needs constant medical monitoring, consider hiring a medical escort. Medical escorts are professionals such as flight nurses, respiratory therapists, and paramedics. They are trained to handle health problems in any setting.

How quickly do you need to get home?

  • By air.Hiring a flight nurse as an escort on a commercial flight is the quickest option, as long as your loved one is able to sit up for take-off and landing. Flight nurses have additional knowledge of the body’s response to altitude.
  • By rail.If flying is out of the question, you may want to have an escort travel with your loved one on an Amtrak sleeper car.
  • By ground transportation. Long-distance, nonemergency ambulance transport offers flexibility and simplicity. It can take Mom door to door. Or, if the situation is not urgent, rent an RV to transport your loved one in bed.

To find a medical escort or air ambulance, locate the nearest accredited medical transport service.

Medicare coverage
Medicare may cover the cost of medically necessary travel. To learn the rules, download the Medicare Coverage of Ambulance Services booklet. Or contact Medicare (800-633-4227). If your family member has other insurance, contact the insurer.

No insurance?
Contact Air Care Alliance. This consortium of volunteer pilots provides air transport for people who have no insurance and can’t afford a charter flight.