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The Importance of Direct Patient Care

by Lux Joseph 1. August 2014
Nursing care differs all around the world. From the United States to Africa to China, a registered nurse may have different responsibilities, guidelines, and even patient care protocols. In the United States, hospitals are now starting to shift the nurse’s focus to where it should have been a long time ago: patient care. A variety of hospitals and medical centers look at patient care as medication administration, dropping off meals, filling out shift paperwork, looking for missing test results, and searching for supplies. But out of all of those tasks, do any of them focus 100% on the care of the patient? The answer is, no! For years nurses have been trained to focus on the operations of the hospital, but Commercial Medical Escorts knows that patient care is our top priority.
 
Research has found that the more dedicated time nurses spend  at the bedside of their patients, the less likely patients are to suffer falls, infections and medication errors, and the more likely they are to be satisfied with their care. Commercial Medical Escorts designed its program to be patient focused from the initial point of contact and throughout the entire transport. We believe that this concentrated focus on the patient improves their morale, reduces any anxiety about flying, and improves their overall transport experience. In the hospital setting, studies have shown that nurses may spend less than two hours of a 12-hour shift in direct patient care. Individuals want to be loved and cared for. For some patients, the hospital staff is their only human contact they experience on a daily basis if they don’t have family or friends visiting. It is important that this shift in patient care continue amongst hospitals worldwide.
 
It is critical for organizations to recognize the talents and abilities of their employees and contractors and use them to their advantage. Why is a nurse hunting down a battery for a piece of equipment in a hospital when their time could be better spent comforting and caring for a patient? Every organization has positions for individuals and there are tasks that relate to some positions better than others. For those working in hospitals, there are certified nurse assistants and other less highly skilled staffers that can be looking for that battery and the nurse can focus on patient care. At Commercial Medical Escorts, our nurses and physicians focus on patient care 100% of the time. When they get to the airport, porters push the wheelchair while the nurse assists the patient into the wheelchair, comforts them, and ensures their medical needs are cared for. By shifting tasks to the more appropriate personnel it reduces the number of inefficient processes.
Some hospitals have started to transition to a more patient focused atmosphere by having pharmacists deliver medications to patient floors, locating common patient supplies within the patient rooms, and even placing tablets and computers in the patient room so the nurse can fill out the patient medical chart while still interacting and being close to the patient; not behind the nurses station away from the patient. Some of these changes seem small, but the impact on patient care is huge. As nurses have more time to spend with the patient and their families, they are able to care for the patients more closely and educate them on follow-up care once they leave the hospital.
At CME, there are numerous times that our nurses arrive to hospitals and the nurse senses the patient is being “pushed out” of the facility. An aging population means sicker patients with more complex needs, yet hospital stays are much shorter than in the past. Patients are getting discharged sooner than usual and their follow-up care is more complicated. Nurses focused on patient care are what are important to the healthcare industry, the hospital, and more importantly the patient. Nurses want to be doing what they entered the profession for, not doing inefficient things that any individual could do.
Patricia Rutherford, a nurse and vice president at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement says “We shouldn’t’ be using expensive professional nursing time doing unnecessary and inefficient things when that time could be reinvested in direct patient care.” Increased direct patient care allows the nurses to be an advocate for the patient. The nurses and patients are able to establish and create a bond that has a positive impact on the patient. At CME we believe patient care is the number one priority. Patients should be able to feel comfortable communicating their needs and concerns. Every patient CME transfers, the nurse visits the patient prior to the transport to complete a full assessment, get to know the patient, and create that connection that will ensure 100% positive patient care. 

Malaysia Airlines 17 Shot Down

by Lux Joseph 19. July 2014

Just two days ago, the political unrest between Russia and Ukraine made a significant impact on the travel industry and in particular, Malaysia Airlines. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur Thursday when it was reportedly shot down over eastern Ukraine. This aircraft was carrying 298 individuals aboard when it crashed. This particular area in which the plane was shot down is currently occupied by separatists looking to repatriate with Russia. The rocket launcher has been suspected to be Russian property, but responsibility and reasons as to why it was shot still remain blurred. As the investigation continues it is possible that the missile could have been from Ukraine military, Russia military or Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. While rumors and thoughts fill social media, it is confirmed that this particular crash does not have any direct relation with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which disappeared earlier this year.

Many individuals have speculated and questioned whether the air space in which Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flew over was safe and allowed due to the current turmoil between Russia and Ukraine. Approximately 18 hours ago Malaysia Airlines tweeted that MH17 flight route was declared safe and unrestricted by ICAO and IATA. Since April 3, 2014 U.S. airlines have been prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration form flying over Crimea, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azoz. All of these areas are within Ukraine. BBC reports, “U.S. carriers have also agreed to avoid flying through airspace near Russia’s border with Ukraine, the FAA said.” While the U.S. FAA may have travel restrictions or routings restricted for US Carriers, this does not apply to other carriers. In a media statement by Malaysia Airlines, the flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol. Eurocontrol is responsible for making decisions regarding the flight paths over European airspace. They are governed under ICAO rules and the service provider for Europe. MH 17 was not the only carrier with a flight that was on this route path at the same time it was shot down as well as days and weeks previous. Why was MH17 targeted? Was it by choice or just luck of the draw?

While Malaysia Airlines in their press release provided the breakdown of nationalities, four individuals still remain unidentified. At the time of the press release on Friday, July 18, 2014 no Americans were identified. At this time one American citizen has been identified of whom was raised in the Netherlands. This is a tragedy that affects people worldwide. For the Dutch community, the loss of life compared to population side is similar to the 911 incident. The airliner had 298 innocent individuals aboard and specifically about 100 scientific researchers of AIDS/HIV. This plane had some of the top HIV/AIDS researchers in the world that were en route to a conference in Melbourne Australia. Families lost their children, parents, loved ones, and friends from around the world. Only four months ago, Malaysia Airlines dealt with a tragic event in which they needed to contact next of kin for missing flight MH370 and now they face the same situation just from another perspective.

Malaysia Airlines is part of the One World Alliance and is an established airline in the industry that has received numerous awards and positive feedback. In 2013 alone, Malaysia Airlines received the following awards (http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/us/en/corporate-info/awards.html):

•    Asia’s Leading Airline from the World Travel Awards (WTA)
•    The World’s 5-Star Airline Award from Skytrax World Airline Awards
•    Best Airline Signature Dish from Skytrax World Airline Awards

While the signature dish does not apply to operations, the other two awards do. Unfortunately this airline is facing two high profile incidents in less than six months that resulted in the loss of lives of hundreds of innocent people. It is unpredictable as to how these events will affect the future of Malaysia Airlines.

A tragedy like this affects people and industries worldwide. Commercial Medical Escorts transports patients on a daily basis worldwide on commercial airlines. While many say that you are safer going on a plane then getting into your car when you go to work, there is no doubt in my mind that a disaster of this scale will impact the decisions of many in regards to flying especially in areas in/around Russia and Ukraine.

On behalf of the entire team at Commercial Medical Escorts, we would like to extend our sincerest sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of those involved in the MH17 crash. We know this this is a difficult time for all of those involved and our hearts go out to all of those affected around the world.

Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected for Summer Travel

by Lux Joseph 6. July 2014

Recent headlines are full of reports predicting that this summer will be a record-breaker when it comes to airline passengers being bumped from their flights. For many, the prospect of being bumped is frustrating at best, and for those who are unaware of their rights, the results can be maddening, not to mention costly. For Commercial Medical Escorts, this could affect a medical repatriation significantly and is something our travel department watches very closely. Add to that ever-changing security rules and new passport requirements and summer travel can seem daunting. With this in mind, Commercial Medical Escorts has prepared a list of tips to help summer travelers stay calm, cool and collected.

Airline Bumping: What You Need to Know 

To avoid being bumped:

  • Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released.
  • Check-in online. If you do not have an advance seat assignment, or you want to change your seat assignment, check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online.
  • Don't be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early. Some airlines reserve a portion of their seat assignment inventory for airport check-in. If you are denied a seat assignment at check-in, put your name on the "standby" seat assignment list. CME advises our medical escorts to arrive to the airport 3 hours in advance for international flights and 2 hours in advance for domestic flights.

If you are bumped or wish to take advantage of airline's request that you give up your seat:

  • Know the lingo. Voluntary bumping occurs when a passenger with a confirmed seat assignment agrees to give up his seat for negotiated compensation. It is not regulated by the DOT. Involuntary bumping occurs when an airline forcibly bumps a paid passenger from a flight because it has been oversold. The DOT regulates compensation for involuntary bumping.
  • Know what questions to ask. If you volunteer to give up your seat in response to an airline offer of a free ticket, it is important passengers ask about restrictions. Ask about expiration and blackout dates, such as holidays.
  • Know your rights. If you are involuntarily denied boarding, and substitute transportation is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to your one-way fare to your final destination, with a $200 maximum. If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (twice the cost of your fare, $400 maximum).

Navigating Security 

  • Remember 3-1-1. New regulations limit the amount of liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin. Items purchased after clearing security may be brought on-board. (Visit TravelSense.org to learn about restrictions in Canada, the U.K. and the European Union.)
  • Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. Most airlines now charge for a first piece of checked luggage. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are one of the few carriers that still do not charge for that first piece of checked luggage.

Traveling Internationally? 

  • Better get a passport. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires a passport or other accepted document for all air travel from within the Western Hemisphere for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory (Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) do not need to present a passport.
  • Plan (way) ahead. The U.S. State Department's Passport Services unit is experiencing a major backlog in processing applications. Rather than taking four to six weeks, routine applications or renewals are now taking 12 weeks. Even expedited service takes about three to four weeks. And, because the service uses a centralized system, travelers cannot get their documents faster by submitting applications directly to a regional processing facility.

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