10 tips for vacation with medically-fragile homecare kids

There’s still time for one last family getaway this summer. Travel allows you to change up your routine, yet for medically-fragile children and their families, it can be terrifying—not exciting.

These 10 tips can help you and your family relax and enjoy some away-from-home adventures:

1. Talk with your PHS clinician before the trip

He or she will help you prepare, including getting a copy of your child’s current physician orders to keep with you and helping you with other planning details.

2. Pack or arrange to ship disposable supplies and equipment

You can carry disposable supplies with you or PHS can ship disposable supplies to your travel destination in the United States (except Hawaii and Alaska.) Contact PHS customer service at 651-642-1825 to make arrangements for shipment of supplies from PHS to your destination.

If you are planning to ship your child’s equipment, make sure it arrives safely by packing it in a correctly sized box. Call PHS if you need boxes for your child’s equipment.

3. Bring backup equipment

Pack backup equipment or arrange to have backup equipment ready for your use at your destination.

4. Know your resources

Before leaving home, call a hospital in your travel area and ask for resources that fit your child’s medical needs. Be sure to say that these medical resources are for a child because most homecare and medical equipment providers center on adult care. If you’re unsure where the nearest hospital is in your travel area use the US Hospital Finder website to help locate one.

5. Let the airline know

Before buying a plane ticket, call the airline or PHS to talk about your child’s medical needs. If medical support is needed during flight time, your airline may require a doctor’s order. If you need oxygen during your flight time, your airline will require you to use their oxygen tanks, not your own. You will also want to make sure your medical and equipment needs are met at the airport terminal before you board and after you arrive at your destination.

6. Line up oxygen if needed

Some companies specializing in oxygen and related medical equipment for travelers are:

Advanced Aeromedical

For a fee, provides oxygen for airport layovers, hotel stays, cruise ships, and motor tours.

Breathin’ Easy

Identifies oxygen providers in cities throughout the world.

Travel O2

For a fee, arranges for worldwide delivery of medical and oxygen equipment.

7. Bring home with you

Make your hotel or other lodging a little more like home with a familiar stuffed animal, blanket or pillow. Consider a room with a small kitchen.

8. Keep your schedule consistent

As much as possible, keep bedtimes and wake-up times the same as at home, accounting for time changes. Try to have a trip routine from day to day, even if the specific activities change.

9. Preview and review

Each morning, talk with your child about the day ahead, and review the day each evening.

10. Most of all, enjoy the experience and take plenty of photos and video. PHS would love to hear about your adventures, too!

How do you prepare for time away from home? What works for you and your family while on vacation? Do you have tips, based on your vacation experiences? Any places that have been especially accommodating for you and your family?

We’d love to hear from you.

We provide these resources as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Always consult your child’s doctor regarding your child’s care plan. PHS is not liable for the content of any of the resources listed nor do we endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or suggested.