Nurses to aid ailing airline passengers
(CNN) -- Nurses' rounds are about to be extended from the hospital to the
When American Airlines launches Skycaare next month, ailing fliers will be
able to bring a nurse along with them for a discounted fare.
"We're looking for people who are very stable for air travel that really just
need a medical helping hand," said Dr. David McKenas, medical director for
Skycaare will provide a registered nurse for passengers who want or need one.
Before the flight, the nurse will consult with the passenger's physician to
learn about medical needs and make sure the patient can handle flying.
During the flight, the two sit together, with the nurse keeping tabs on the
Physician Larry Tune, who works with Alzheimer's patients, said this
program could be just what the doctor ordered.
"The needs of someone who is demented really require one-on-one attention,
especially in travel, because that is a unique experience for them," Tune
It can also be a challenging one for someone with a mental or physical
Janet Cellars recently had to fly her father home soon after he underwent
"To have somebody who is available, who is knowledgeable about the
medical status of the person and they know just what is involved in travel, I
think would be very helpful to families," Cellars said.
$90 an hour
Most major airlines already have medical equipment on board, including
first aid kits and portable defibrillators. But American Airlines is the first to
take this additional step, starting in February for flights to or from Dallas
Passengers requesting a nurse would have to pay for the nurse's ticket at a
30 percent discount, plus a $90 hourly fee.
But that added expense could buy more freedom for people who are sick,
and more peace of mind for family members.
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