A plane flying in the sky

How to Travel With a Sick Family Member

January 31, 2018

We’ve all been on a plane with a bout of food poisoning or a snivelling child, but what happens when a member of your family has an ongoing condition that seriously impacts their ability to travel? In an ideal world, every flight, hotel and insurance policy would be set up for this occasion, but this isn’t always the case.

Whether you’re flying with a disabled child or taking a terminally ill parent overseas, it’s important to be prepared before you travel. Here are four tips to help you go abroad with a family member in need.

A close up of a sign

Get Prepared

Does your family member have a carer who takes care of their daily needs? If so, can you bring them with you? If not, it’s vital that you are fully briefed on their needs, medications, and capabilities before you travel. You should also go with your family member to the doctor to get written permission for them to go abroad (some insurance policies request this, so it’s best to have it as a back-up). Make sure you have a copy of their prescriptions, just in case they need to be filled while you’re abroad, and check to see that you can take it on the plane with you.

Check Your Travel Insurance

It goes without saying that your loved one’s medical insurance should be up to date, but what about travel insurance for the whole family? This last-minute detail is often overlooked, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Before you fly, be sure to check the language in your insurance policy, as the way the terms are phrased could make all the difference to your claim.

For example, you might expect to be covered if there are any interruptions to your travel plans due to a family member’s illness. However, if that person has been treated for a medical condition in the last 90 days before you purchased the policy, then the condition could be considered a “known risk”, and therefore, you won’t be covered. To avoid this happening, make sure your insurance applies a pre-existing condition waiver to all travellers.

A airplane that is flying in the sky

Fly With a Nurse

Did you know that you could hire a flight nurse specifically for the plane? If you’re flying commercially and are in need of non-emergency medical care, Flying Angels

provide cost-effective help where a Flight Coordinator handles the logistics (checking in, the boarding process), and the client is cared for on the flight by a registered nurse.

Find Accessible Accommodation

Lastly, you need to make sure that your accommodation is set up for a loved one with medical needs. It’s possible to find tailored options for those with disabilities and terminal illnesses, but at the very least you need to make sure there are accessible bathrooms, bedrooms and ramped doorways. Bear in mind that some hotels say they’re set up for people with disabilities, but this can be a rather throwaway claim, so it’s best to consult a specialist holiday company for advice.

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Photo Credit: Annie Spratt Vincent Versluis Chris Lawton

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