Aeromedical Transport Specialist – These are Emergency Physicians, Flight Nurses, Flight Paramedics and Flight Respiratory Therapists who have received specialized training in the bodily changes that occur at altitude, including the proper care and treatment of those changes.
Air Ambulance – An aircraft licensed, staffed, and equipped to function as a flying, critical care unit.
Advanced Life Support (ALS) – The level of care the patient should be able to receive while aboard an air ambulance. It includes aggressive treatment of life threatening conditions using heart monitors, defibrillator, emergency medications, intravenous fluids and other adjuncts.
Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) – The minimum certification all flight personnel should have. This training course allows the flight personnel to care for the critically ill heart patient.
Aviation Physiology – This advanced training course educates the flight personnel about the mental and physical changes that occur with the patient at altitude.
Continuous Quality Improvement – An advanced Quality Assurance Program that allows air ambulance providers to address any concerns that may develop. Once a concern has been identified, a solution for improvement is implemented and this change is continuously updated to determine if it is correcting the problem addressed. Ask the air ambulance provider to give you an overview of their CQI program.
Fixed Wing Aircraft – These are airplanes, whereas a helicopter is a rotary-wing aircraft. Fixed wing aircraft consist of jet, turbo prop, pressurized and non-pressurized aircraft.
Jet Aircraft – Aircraft that are powered by jet engines and are capable of providing the patient with quick air ambulance transportation. The jet aircraft used should be listed on the air ambulance company’s air taxi certificate to ensure that it is safely and properly staffed and maintained.
Medical Director – An emergency trained physician who oversees the medical care provided. The medical director must be involved with the Aeromedical Transport Specialist’s training and Quality Assurance. Ask the air ambulance provider how their medical director interacts with the flight team.
Non-Pressurized Aircraft – Aircraft that have an internal cabin pressure equal to the outside altitude of the aircraft. These low performance aircraft have limited capabilities, as they typically fly below 8,000 feet and do not have the capability to climb above most inclement weather conditions. These aircraft typically offer a rough and uncomfortable flight.
Pressurized Aircraft – An aircraft with an internal cabin pressure less than the aircraft’s outside altitude. These aircraft offer higher performance as they are capable of climbing to higher altitudes and above most inclement weather situations. Due to their higher performance, you typically enjoy a smoother and more comfortable flight.