Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Overcoming Mobility Problems in the Sick and Disabled

Advances in medicine have resulted in the sick and injured having to spend less time in the hospital than in the past. This coupled with the increasing cost of in-hospital care means that patients and their families have 2 reasons to be happy about an early return home – the patient can continue his recovery in comfortable familiar surroundings and the burden on the wallet is reduced. However, the change from being an in-patient to an out-patient presents some problems of its own. One of the biggest of these is the issue of transporting the patient to the hospital or clinic for checkups to monitor the pace of recovery and follow up treatment.

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The Problem of Transport

Traveling by car for checkups may be all right for those with minor injuries or sickness, but it can be a major problem for those who are not mobile or unable to get in and out of a car. The issue is not just one of discomfort. The act of getting in or out of the vehicle, even with assistance, could make the problem worse. In addition, if the journey is anything more than a few minutes, the stress of travel could have an adverse effect on the patient. Often, the deterioration may become apparent only after the patient returns home, necessitating another stressful trip to see the doctor. A patient may try to put a brave face on and not show the pain or discomfort he feels both out of embarrassment and a feeling of guilt at being a burden on caregivers. This will only exacerbate the problem.

For this reason, it is essential that only an appropriate means of transport be used – something that is specifically designed to meet the special needs of the sick and injured. What springs to mind immediately is an ambulance. However, these are typically used for emergency situations and trying to arrange for one for routine medical visits may not only be impossible, but there is also a possibility that it may be viewed as an attempt to misuse emergency services.  The solution lies in the use of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT).

Another factor to be considered is that the pain and discomfort of travel may result in psychological problems. The patient may become depressed about his condition or may develop a fear of traveling that could result in hiding a change in his condition that he feels could result in another painful journey to determine what is wrong. In addition, not knowing of the stress being felt by the patient, caregivers will continue to use normal transport presuming that the patient is comfortable with it.

What Is NEMT?

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation is exactly what the name says. It is a service that offers special vehicles for transporting the sick and injured, in non-emergency situations, in safety and comfort. The vehicles are designed to make it as easy as possible for the sick, injured and those with mobility issues to travel in them. The drivers are specially trained in the transport of patients. NEMT is not just the most comfortable way for those with mobility issues to travel, it is the safest and most convenient.