Winter 2014 Newsletter
Medical Summary and Communication Competency
At Sky Nurses, our Medical Summary is one of the most important aspects of our medical and non-medical escorts. Our goal is to eliminate a nurse arriving at the patient’s location only to find the patient is not fit-to-fly.
At Sky Nurses, a Medical Summary (medical data that includes important clinical facts) is completed immediately by the RN Intake Coordinator once documentation is received by the insurance and/or assistance company. Though this data is mainly intended to aid health professionals in providing unscheduled care, it can also be used to foresee potential problems and minimize those problems during the medical escort.
The RN Intake Coordinator collects clinical data through conversations with the primary nurse, physician, patient and/or a family member. The Commercial Flight Nurse will collect data based on a physical and mental examination, face-to-face conversation with the primary nurse and/or physician, laboratory and radiology tests. Together, the RN Intake Coordinator and the Commercial Flight Nurse will work to develop a plan of care that will ensure a safe medical escort.
Finally, the Commercial Flight Nurse will disseminate this newly created plan of care to the patient and/or patient's family. Dissemination occurs through oral and written communication (consent forms, instructions and educational materials).
Communicating with the Family
Neglecting to obtain medical information from the patient and/or a family member has been identified as an activity that can have an adverse impact on patient safety during a medical escort. Recommendations for improving the process largely focuses at the administrative level – the one obtaining information about the patient during the initial phase of the repatriation.
In a recent study conducted by Sky Nurses, when clinical responsibility is given to our clinicians, having additional medical information from a family member (other than what is provided by the insurance provider/assistance company) resulted in better patient care.
Communicating with Medical Personnel Around the World
Effective communication with a patient and/or a family member is critical to the safety and quality of care. Barriers to this communication include differences in language and culture. Evidence-based practices that reduce these barriers must be integrated into, rather than added to, health care work processes.
What factors contribute to communication failures in healthcare?
Breakdowns in communication in healthcare are reported to occur due to:
Sky Nurses now requires all clinicians (Internal Case Managers and
Medical Escorts) to complete an online training program that teaches how to use active verbal engagement and ask clarifying questions when obtaining medical information or when doing a face-to-face report during the initial assessment phase.
Prescription for Pain
According to our clinicians, patient’s that are experiencing acute pain caused by an illness or injury has decreased during flight due in part to the medical team taking action by obtaining a prescription for pain medication before the nurse arrives.
“If needed, our clinicians are able to arrive before the scheduled time in order to have the prescription filled at a nearby pharmacy here in the United States if the hospital does not provide such a service.” Tara Rose, RN, VP, Medical Management