Air Medical Transport FAQ: What Is "Bedside-to-Bedside" Service?
You'll hear the words "bedside-to-bedside" a lot from air medical transport companies. But what does it really mean? At MedFlight911 Air Ambulance, it means that a member of our medical team is with the patient before he leaves his current location (departing facility) until he reaches his final destination (receiving facility).
We coordinate all aspects of the patient's care until he is admitted into the receiving facility. That involves our medical crew communicating with doctors and nurses at both the departing and receiving facilities, coordinating transport from the departing facility to the airport or FBO and from the airport or FBO to the receiving facility, and of course the flight itself. A bedside-to-bedside approach ensures continuity of care – which reduces the risk of medical errors or other problems.
Not every air medical transport company offers true bedside-to-bedside service. But at MedFlight911, we feel that this superior level of care is an important part of ensuring the best outcomes for our patients. From the moment they are picked up at the departing facility, our air medical transport crew assumes total responsibility for the patient. It's our job to make sure that they arrive at their final destination in the same – or better – condition than when they left the departing facility.
The process begins when MedFlight911's medical crew arrives at the departing facility via ground ambulance. The medical crew introduces themselves to the patient and family members, as well as the nurses and other medical staff at the departing facility. Then one crew member will begin the patient assessment and transfer the patient from the facility’s equipment (IV, oxygen, monitors, etc.) onto the transport equipment.
At the same time, the other crew member works with the family and the facility staff to gather all of the paperwork and documentation necessary to ensure continuity of care (so there is no miscommunication between the departing facility, the air ambulance crew, and the receiving facility). Then the flight crew and the ground ambulance crew will transfer the patient to the ground ambulance stretcher or gurney.
Once at the airport or FBO (fixed base of operations – for private aircraft), the flight crew will transfer the patient onto the aircraft stretcher and into the airplane. Then, any passenger and patient luggage will be stowed. Passengers will take their seats and both they and the patient will be secured while the medical crew and pilots perform all pre-flight procedures. Through the entire process, the medical crew is totally focused on the patient and meeting his/her medical needs.
After landing at the arriving airport, the air medical transport crew transfers the patient to a waiting ground ambulance, to transport the patient to the receiving facility. The flight nurse and other members of the medical crew will accompany the patient during this part of the journey as well. Since we travel with the patient all the way to the receiving facility, we're able to clearly communicate any medical issues to the doctors and nurses there as the patient’s care is transferred to the receiving facility.
Why is bedside-to-bedside service so important? Because it is during patient transfers that problems are more likely to occur. With bedside-to-bedside service, patients get the best possible care while in transit and are more likely to arrive at their destination safely.