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Nurse Escorts: Everything You Need to Know

You may have heard the term "nurse escort" before, but do you know what they do, who they help, and how much they cost? Let’s find out!


Published on June 22nd, 2023 in Nurse Escort

You may have heard the term “nurse escort” before, but do you know what they do, who they help, and how much they cost?

In this blog post we’re going to answer all those questions and more with a deep dive into the topic.

Let’s get started!

What is a nurse escort?

A nurse escort (also called a medical escort or a rescue nurse) is a professional nurse hired to accompany and provide ongoing medical care for a patient during travel from one location to another. The nurse escort provides medical assistance, monitors the patient’s condition, administers medications, and ensures the patient’s overall well-being during the journey.

Many nurse escorts are also registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who have completed their official nursing education and obtained the necessary certifications and licenses to practice.

Many people are familiar with nurse escorts who help transport individuals from their residence to a medical facility, but there’s actually a wider range of services than that. Sometimes, nurse escorts will accompany patients on a flight, and therefore are also referred to as flight nurses, jet nurses or rescue nurses in those situations. Those nurses are required to be trained in flight physiology and have special clearances on planes, like bringing oxygen on to planes.

On top of their foundational training and basic life support (BLS) certification, nurse escorts usually receive additional training such as patient transfer techniques, emergency response procedures, medication administration during transportation, infection control measures, and communication skills for working with patients and other healthcare professionals outside of a medical facility setting.

When would somebody need a nurse escort?

There are a few common situations where a nurse escort might be the best course of action.

Medical transfers and repatriation

When a patient needs to be transferred from one healthcare facility to another, such as from a hospital to a rehabilitation center or from a hospital to their home, a nurse escort may be necessary. This can be particularly common when the patient’s condition is complex or is such that it requires ongoing medical care during the transfer.

Long-distance travel arrangements

If a person with specialized medical needs is traveling a long distance — typically via air or train — they may require a nurse escort to look after their needs for the duration of the journey to the final destination.

General health and safety concerns

If a patient has cognitive impairments, physical disabilities, or is at high risk of falls or wandering, a nurse escort can help ensure their safety during transportation. The nurse can provide assistance with mobility, manage behavioral issues, and address any medical needs that arise.

How much does a nurse escort cost?

According to AirCARE1, hiring a commercial nurse escort for air travel within the U.S. can cost between $6,000 – $8,000. There are so many factors that influence the cost of a nurse escort, however, that you will need to provide much more information in order to get an accurate quote.

Some factors include:

  • Type of transportation (commercial airline, train, etc.)
  • Cost of transportation tickets
  • Distance and/or duration of transportation
  • International vs. domestic transportation
  • Type of medical care the patient requires

Is a nurse escort covered by health insurance?

You will have to check with your health insurance company directly, but coverage for nurse escort is not typically included in standard insurance policies and may require additional documentation and/or pre-authorization. Additionally, even with coverage, you may still have to pay deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare or Medicaid may provide coverage for medical transportation and/or nurse escort services under specific circumstances. These programs generally have their own guidelines and requirements for determining eligibility and coverage but again, you’ll have to check with your provider.

How do you find a nurse escort?

Where you look for a nurse escort depends heavily on your situation. A one-time emergency department trip home from overseas is a lot different than regularly scheduled local trips, so how you choose to find this service is up to you.

Before you call, be sure to have all the information related to the patient (whether yourself or a friend/family member) including medical history, transportation details, medication lists, and any specific needs they may have.

That said, here are several options for finding a nurse escort:

Medical insurance providers

This is likely your best bet if the need for a nurse escort is related to medical care that happens to be covered by your insurance. They can provide information on whether nurse escort services are covered under your plan and will probably have a list of pre-approved providers.

Healthcare facilities

Contact your local hospital, medical clinic, or other healthcare facility and inquire whether they offer nurse escort services or can provide recommendations. They may have staff members who can accompany patients during transfers or suggest specialized agencies that specifically provide medical escort services.

Specialized agencies

Look for specialized agencies or companies that offer nurse escort services. These agencies are specifically dedicated to providing transportation and medical support for patients during transfers. They often have a roster of qualified nurses available for escorting patients and can coordinate the logistics of the journey.

Case managers and social workers

If you or a loved one is under the care of a case manager or social worker, reach out to them for help with this matter. Social workers often have experience and knowledge in coordinating various aspects of healthcare, including medical transportation, and might be able to help connect you with the appropriate resources or agencies.

Travel assistance companies

While we can’t speak for all travel assistance companies, Emergency Assistance Plus protection includes rescue nurses (nurse escorts that provide continued medical care during a member’s travels home) services as part of all of our memberships. Generally activated as part of the repatriation process, nurse escorts are provided, at no cost to members, if deemed medically necessary to provide continued medical care during your trip home.

The Emergency Assistance Plus global response center is part of a network that offers customized medical, security, and travel assistance services to more than 10 million travelers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

For more information on services and costs, please feel free to check out our website or call us at: 1-866-863-4460.

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Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®) is not insurance, it is a membership plan. This is only an outline of the plan’s features. Hospitalization (admitted as an inpatient) is a requirement to be eligible for some services. All services must be arranged and provided by EA+. Please read the EA+ Member Guide carefully to understand all the services available to you, as well as any rules and regulations. EA+ is only available to U.S. residents at this time and is not available to residents of New York. Washington state residents must be traveling more than 100 miles away from home to be eligible for EA+ services.