How to Support the Ill or Injured Traveler

The increasing ease and affordability of international travel, coupled with the rapid improvement in international communication, is driving the growth of international travel for business and pleasure. For many years the trend has been significant increases in the number of Americans traveling abroad as well as the number of foreigners coming to the US. Because of this trend, case managers are likely to encounter either clients who have become ill or injured during a trip to the US or have clients for whom international travel may be an important part of a full and meaningful life despite chronic illness.

This session will address the ways case managers can support their clients to safely travel internationally, whether that be to return home at the end of an acute episode or to fulfill important goals and obligations despite chronic illness. Parameters for travel will be presented and explained in relation to the physiological effects of air travel as well as the resources available to support travelers. Also addressed will be a discussion of foreign healthcare facilities and how to evaluate them. Finally, we will review the various types of travel insurance available in the market and all attendees will be provided with a two-page tool that guides the purchase of appropriate travel insurance.

By the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  1. Identify the risks and dangers faced by people who get sick or injured in a foreign country (including foreigners in the US)
  2. Explain the variety of insurance that travelers may have and how to help them access those benefits
  3. Present the nuances of planning for an international transition of care
  4. Apply the CCMC Code of Professional Conduct to the care of clients who wish or need to travel despite illness, injury or disability through knowledge of the resources available to support them.

This applies to Principle 5 – Board Certified Case Managers (CCMs) will maintain their competency at a level that ensures their clients will receive the highest quality of service.

Eric Bergman, RN, CCM, is an International Nurse Case Manager for AXA Assistance, one of the world’s leading travel assistance companies. At AXA he has worked as the case manager overseeing the evaluation and coordination of care all over the world for patients struck by a sudden illness while abroad, as well as a repatriation escort. He currently does telephonic case management for US expatriates in German, Canada, and Mexico with chronic or complex acute issues. As a repatriation nurse, Eric uses his expertise in both nursing and international travel to safely move ill patients home. He works for AXA’s Chicago office where he spent two years as the leader of the medical department education committee.