Making a cruise ship your home - Part 4 - I've fallen and I can't get up. (Medical care)
People get sick and people have accidents, It's an unavoidable fact of life and on a ship do you have limited access to medical help? Actually no, quite the opposite. you actually have access to a lot MORE. In talking today to the medical team they pointed out something I hadn't thought off. when you dial 911 on land paramedics are dispatched as soon as they are available and may be many miles away from you. On a cruise ship, they are just a few decks below you and can get to you in mere minutes. But what about the quality of care?
Well, a ship is basically a self-contained environment so as well as taking care of the guests they also take care of all the crew so on each ship they have a team of fully trained nurses a couple of doctors and even a dentist on board.
In talking to the team about what they can and can't do, basically, they can do everything except operations. for that, they will arrange transportation to the nearest medical facility for treatment. Everything else they can handle and treat onboard and they have a fully stocked facility including scanners and x-ray equipment so you should be in good hands.
The ship will bill you for any medical costs. The full amount of onboard medical care will be charged to your onboard account, regardless of whether you are fully insured at home. However, you aren't necessarily on the hook for the whole amount. Once you pay the cruise line, you should submit receipts and documentation to your health insurance provider to recoup whatever your insurance will pay for out-of-network emergency care. However, it is still a good idea to have a GP doctor on land even if you only see them while in home port once a year since it will be cheaper and they can bill your insurance directly. Also, you have a land-based doctor who has all your medical records. Remember your land biased doctor does NOT have to be one in the USA, often doctors in other countries may be a lot cheaper and just as good.
Ships from the main cruise lines all will have at least one doctor and two nurses onboard. Many larger ships sail with two doctors and three or four nurses. According to the American College of Emergency Physician guidelines, ships must have medical staff on call 24 hours. Medical personnel (both physicians and registered nurses) must have at least three years of postgraduate experience in general and emergency medicine or board certification in emergency medicine, family medicine or internal medicine.
The staff must be able to perform advanced life support practices, emergency cardiovascular care and minor surgical procedures. They are expected to stabilize seriously ill patients, perform reasonable diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, and help evacuate seriously sick or injured patients. Doctors and nurses also are required to be fluent in the predominant language of the ship.
Robust travel insurance policies can be a financial lifesaver if an expensive emergency procedure, such as evacuation from the ship and a hospital stay in a foreign port, is necessary
Let's face it with a large number of older people on the ships and the variety of medical issues they all have if you are younger and still of working age, you will be more than fine.
Tomorrow - putting it all together and a plan