When organising clinical trials one of the key factors for both patient and sponsor is making the travel arrangements to and from the site. We look at the different types of special assistance required for patient travel.
How mobile are the people travelling to your clinical trial? Travellers may require wheelchair assistance; if they travel with their own wheelchair this could be manual or battery operated. These type of batteries are classed as hazardous therefore this needs to be cleared by the airline prior to any travel.
Walking aids, like wheelchairs, come in various forms and have to be pre-booked with the airline.
Checks need to be made regarding the type of aircraft the passenger will be travelling on to ensure they have accessible toilets.
Patients travelling to attend a clinical trial may require a range of assistive devices.
Objects like needles and syringes are classified as dangerous but are permitted with clearance. In some cases oxygen may be needed and as an aircraft’s supply is limited this must be arranged in advance.
There is medication to consider, anything that needs to be kept refrigerated has to be signed off. You will find situations where portable CPAP machines and dialysis machines are essential. It is feasible to arrange for a patient to travel with any of the above, this just requires a degree of planning.
If patients have behavioural issues this should be taken into consideration when booking travel. To ease the stress of a flight for both the patient and family/travel companion, liaising with the airline ahead of any flight is a necessity. Arranging pre-booking and ensuring everyone is seated together will make the overall experience of taking part in a clinical trial as comfortable as possible.
We have organised the travel of patients with a connective tissue malfunction and in extreme cases have had to lie flat during take-off and landing. This cannot be arranged on a commercial flight therefore an Air Ambulance was booked to ensure the patients safety.
Ensuring a patient who is taking part in a clinical trial experiences smooth and efficient travel to the site really aids patient recruitment and retention. The key to doing this is having the right people to speak to and thinking about what special assistance patients may need and making all the necessary advance arrangements.