Did you know that every three minutes, a traveller needs emergency medical treatment abroad? For those people in need of urgent assistance, the team at Angels of Flight Canada Inc. are a godsend, providing expert medical advice in a challenging situation. Earning the title of Most Outstanding Aeromedical Transportation Company 2020 – Canada in the ongoing Global Excellence Awards 2020, we look more closely at this incredible organization and the impressive work that its team undertakes.
Operating globally for over 30 years, Angels of Flight is a wholly owned and operated Canadian organization focused on finding solutions for those facing medical challenges away from home. Specializing in the movement of the ill or injured from countries around the world is a complex process and certainly daunting for the inexperienced. No two situations are ever alike which is why the comprehensive services of medical transportation by air or ground are tailored to individual needs. No matter where in the world you are is, this hardworking team are with you every step of the way!
Early intervention has always been the key to success, and much of what Angels of Flight does is designed to make the best use of a sensitive situation. People in a medical crisis need the right help at the right time, and time is seldom their friend in these situations. Saving critical time and hospitalization costs are the goals for achieving the best possible result.
While the principles of patient care are always held to a high standard, a trusting relationship must be established to instil confidence that the decisions being made will be in the best interests of the patient. To accomplish a successful outcome, not only are security and safety at the forefront, but it is incumbent that the best possible options are discussed and understood, expectations are managed, networking with service providers and stakeholders is continuous and the appropriate care team is selected.
CEO, Gail Courneyea, has plenty of experience in this field. She’s been CEO since founding the company in 1986. It was designed to fill a gap, to provide essential care that, at the time, had no provision. Her own experience, sixteen years as a critical care nurse at the Peterborough Civic Hospital is just one of the aspects that she has brought to her role.
We asked Gail to further explain the connection between Canadian healthcare and Angels of Flight: “It is the connection with our Canadian Healthcare Professionals with knowledge and experience acquired over the decades that not only makes the real difference but is the uniqueness of our service. Having a Registered Nurse advocate is a lifeline of hope when people are at their most vulnerable point. They have questions and they are often fearful of what comes next because for the first time, they are faced with many unknowns.”
It is the expertise of the company’s team of Registered Nurses – their patience, commitment and dedication to helping those in need with their medical situation – which drives the continued success of Angels of Flight. They are able to truly understand the unique challenges that are being faced by their patients. Adept problem solvers, every effort is made to ensure the anxiety and stress of an incident is alleviated, with many hours spent evaluating options and implementing the appropriate strategy. Many people fail to appreciate that flight environments are distinctive. It is the specially trained Registered Nurses who understand how to care for people with compromised health during flight which is unequivocally different from hospital environments.
“We are always looking for qualified Nurses to join our team,” Gail goes on to say. “However, because of the physical and mental demands placed on Flight Nurses, not everyone would find this a suitable occupation. This is a highly specialized career and it comes with its own set of challenges. Keeping current with the latest care methods is essential along with processes for responding to the stressors that come with flying. It is a journey of continuous learning.”
The clients that Angels of Flight attends to includes a mix individuals and families, hospitals and healthcare providers, government agencies, employers and insurers.
Many clients have related their frustration in spending days and weeks trying to find help. When travellers don’t have a back-up plan for a possible medical event, they can find themselves struggling very quickly. In an attempt to counter this trend, the team at Angels of Flight have created the Halo Medcard Program. We asked Gail to explain more about the benefits of this scheme. “Travellers need Peace of Mind and immediate access to Healthcare Professionals who can help them move forward expeditiously.” In practice, the Halo Medcard Program is a proactive card that stores all of a client’s vital information for use in times of crisis. Instead of struggling to get medical information across borders, this one-of-a-kind travel medical information card allows medical professionals to connect with this information worldwide. In cases of illness or injury, it’s an incredibly powerful tool.
To accelerate the process of getting in contact with a medical professional, when you need one, Angels of Flight has developed a free “Help Me” mobile app. Available at the Apple Store, or Google Play, this is sure to be an invaluable resource for travellers. A manual message mode provides travelers with the means to write a simple or detailed custom message that describes the problem. At the push of a button, regardless of time zones, the message will be received by a Registered Nurse who will be able to advise and take the appropriate action.
Gail is keen to warn that while some might see the service offered by Angels of Flight excessive, it’s a very wise precaution. “We firmly advocate that travellers purchase hospitalization and repatriation travel insurance but often travellers think “nothing is going to happen to me” and they choose not to pay the perceived high premiums. There are situations where the coverage is inadequate or there is a dispute over a claim. In the end, our duty is to make use of our expertise to help when we can.”
Of course, the impressive success of Angels of Flight has brought social obligation, and the team have responded with gusto to the call. There are people across Canada who are geographically or financially disadvantaged and unable get to the medical care they need. Medical transportation costs can be high for many and often out of reach. As specialists in medical transportation solutions, it’s clear that they are the right people to try and find a way to help.
The result has been the Global Angel Charitable Organization. Over the last 13 years, this incredible group has been able to contribute to ground and air transportation expenses for people of all ages across Canada. There is a sense of fulfillment to deliver a patient to their appointment, or treatment and even palliative care. The team have had the good fortune to work with and support this Canadian charity that continues to reach out and relieved the financial burdens for many families.
Now, more than ever before, travellers must choose their destination wisely, and the way they reach that destination even more so. Nobody wants the unexpected, but if it happens, it’s a comfort to know that a team of specialists in Global Medical Solutions have your back. No matter where you are in the world, no matter what the time of day, Angels of Flight will always answer the call.