Travel Assistance 101: What is a Rescue Nurse?

You’re at a high-stress business meeting in Hong Kong and you start to experience chest pain. You need immediate cardiac intervention (good thing you had On Call to refer you to an appropriate local facility with cardiac catheterization capabilities!) and after you’ve recuperated enough to begin rehab, you would like to return home to continue your recovery. At this point, you’re healthy enough to fly on a commercial flight, but you know you’ll need some extra assistance—and that’s where our Rescue Nurses come in!

Smiling Nurse Answering Smart PhoneHere at On Call, we have a team of multi-lingual rescue nurses who are ready to help our travelers get home safely from anywhere, any time. Our Rescue Nurses are not only Registered Nurses (RNs) and hold Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certifications, but are required to have at least five years of critical care experience. And, of course, our Rescue Nurses also have extensive international travel experience to ensure your trip home (and through customs!) is as seamless as possible.

Typically if a traveler is medically stable, alert, and conscious, a commercial evacuation with a Rescue Nurse is the best transport option. While every case is different, here are some common factors that help us to determine if we should call upon one of our Rescue Nurses to assist you:

    • Ambulatory status – traveler has difficulty with performing basic tasks on their own such as: getting up and down from his/her seat, eating, drinking, handling luggage and personal belongings and going to the restroom.

    • Medical requirements – traveler needs monitoring, medication/IV, or special medical equipment, such as oxygen.

    • Age and pre-existing medical conditions.

In the case of the cardiac intervention, once you’re fit to travel, our medical team and assistance coordinators will work with your treating doctors, facility staff and family members to determine the level of care, medications and equipment required for your safe and comfortable journey home. Once we have this information, our dedicated, in-house rescue nurse transportation coordinators will match you with a nurse based on your specific needs and location. Then, once we have all the facts and authorizations to act on your behalf, we will secure necessary visas, flights, lodging, and ground transportation. We will also obtain any necessary clearances/authorizations from your treating hospital and arrange receiving hospital admissions if applicable.

Your designated Rescue Nurse will then travel to wherever you are—whether it’s to your hospital bed or even your hotel room—to get acquainted and perform one last physical assessment. Before you depart, the Rescue Nurse will make sure to take their duty rest, which is a mandated break in between flights. This is not only for your health and safety, but for your nurse’s as well—especially important for international flights, so he/she is not fatigued during your transport.

Once you’re ready to leave, the Rescue Nurse will stay by your side to assist you with your trip home. Whether you need medications administered, help with special equipment such as oxygen or even getting up to stretch your legs, our Rescue Nurses won’t leave your side until you’re home with your family or at the hospital of your choice. Throughout your trip home, we’ll even provide your loved ones, receiving facility and even your employer (if authorized) with timely updates on your status and condition.

As you can see, there are lots of details, processes and people involved with getting our travelers home safe and protected. That’s why in addition to our globe-trotting Rescue Nurses, we have a staff of dedicated, in-house Rescue Nurse case managers (who spend a significant time in the field as well!) and transportation assistance coordinators. Having these teams under one roof is critical in ensuring the quickest and safest resolution to each Rescue Nurse case possible—no one is waiting for a phone call or looking at different case management systems. Instead, communications are streamlined, information is immediate and processes are transparent.  And when it comes to your health and safety…we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Want to learn more?
On Call’s clients are encouraged to consult with us for the most up-to-date information on their destinations and recommendations around risk prevention and travel health planning. For everyone else, please feel free to get in touch with us for more information, as well as how On Call can help protect your travelers with our customized travel risk management and assistance programs.

For over 25 years, On Call International has provided fully-customized travel risk management and global assistance services protecting millions of travelers, their families, and their organizations. Contact us today and watch our video to learn more. You can also stay in touch with On Call’s in-house risk management, travel health and security experts by signing up for our quarterly Travel Risk Management (TRM) newsletter.