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What is Medical Repatriation?

Medical repatriation is when citizens are returned to their country of origin for medical treatment and care due to injury or sickness while abroad. This service is crucial to travelers to other countries since it ensures that people facing health emergencies while away can access reliable and familiar medical facilities and services.

It can also ensure that travelers get the best treatment and receive support from their families and loved ones. It plays a vital role in safeguarding the well-being of patients and expediting their recovery.

At Travel Care Air, our medical team has the capacity, tools, training, and extensive experience repatriating patients safely back to their country of origin. We provide these services using state-of-the-art air ambulances that can suit the needs of every patient.

Our team is the name to trust if you require air ambulance services for yourself or your loved ones. In this guide, we cover the answer to: “What is medical repatriation?” 

We’ll also help you understand what to expect and the processes involved for proper in-flight medical care and transportation.

What is Medical Repatriation?

Repatriation for medical reasons is the process where people are transported back to their home country. These services are often provided to injured or sick people while traveling overseas. It becomes necessary since the traveler cannot obtain the medical treatment they need in the country they visited. As a result, these patients need to be flown back to their homes to get essential therapies and support.

To help you further understand what is medical repatriation, consider the following details:

  • Medical air repatriation is usually provided via an air ambulance, but some service providers can also use commercial airlines.
  • The costs of repatriation services will vary depending on several factors.
  • This service also helps patients avoid unnecessary healthcare costs, especially if their medical insurance is not accepted in the country they visited.

Air Ambulance vs. Commercial Airlines

An air ambulance is a specially equipped aircraft designed to transport patients needing medical attention or critical care. These flights are always manned by trained medical personnel administering essential treatments in transit. These aircraft are the preferred mode of transport, especially when patients aren’t stable enough for regular transportation.

Even though commercial airlines can be used for emergency transport, they are less well-equipped or staffed than air ambulances. They may have basic first aid supplies, but there is no guarantee that they can provide emergency medical treatments and procedures.

Medical Repatriation vs. Medevacs

A medical evacuation differs from medical repatriation, even though these terms may seem interchangeable since they involve the air transport of injured or sick individuals. Medevacs are primarily used for responding to emergencies, especially when the patient is remote or inaccessible. It provides emergency medical care and may only sometimes involve intercontinental travel.

Medical repatriation offers almost the same service but transports individuals across countries. Repatriation aircraft can have more equipment and personnel aboard, catering to stable and unstable patients and providing the necessary medical support.

Challenges Patients May Face

Depending on where you traveled, you may face specific challenges when getting repatriated for medical reasons. 

Language Barriers

Language barriers may hinder the process, which can cause delays. Healthcare providers abroad may need help with language difficulties, making it difficult to determine the treatment plan for the patient. At Travel Care Air, we can arrange for one of our multilingual staff to accompany you as you are transported to a medical facility. In addition, we can also arrange for an interpreter to be onboard during the flight.

Medical Complexity

Some patients may require specialized care during transport on an airline or medical air ambulance, making it difficult to find suitable transport options and medical teams to handle and manage the patient’s condition throughout the flight.

Travel Care Air provides bedside-to-bedside transportation, which means you retain continuous medical care and attention from the time you leave one medical bed to another. Patients will receive an initial medical assessment before the flight and constant monitoring while in flight. The attending medical team at your destination will relay all the vital information about the patient’s condition.

Logistics, Equipment, and Medications

Logistics and transportation can be challenging as well. Medical care providers must ensure that air transport options have appropriate medical equipment and staff to meet the patient’s needs.

All of our Travel Care Air flights have all the necessary supplies and equipment to handle various conditions and medical emergencies. Our air ambulances are equipped with cardiac monitors/defibrillators, ventilators, oxygen, and IV supplies, to name a few.

How Does It Work?

This process involves the safe transfer of a patient from a foreign country to their home country, which can pose a few challenges. Assessments need to be performed by local medical teams to ascertain the patient’s condition and ensure that they are stable and suitable for transportation to a different facility.

They must coordinate with a foreign medical team specializing in repatriation efforts. A team of paramedics, nurses, and doctors can be prepared to receive the patient. These medical professionals have extensive experience transporting patients overseas. A repatriation plan is prepared that is suited to the patient’s medical condition.

Following this, transportation arrangements are made while considering various options. Available transportation should include enough space for equipment and a medical team to accompany the patient.

The necessary permits will also have to be obtained along with clearances from both countries where the patients are coming from and where they will be transported.

During pick-up, the paramedics and healthcare workers providing medical repatriation perform bedside evaluations and cover the medical records provided by local medical staff. Once the patient is cleared and able to fly, the repatriation process begins, and healthcare providers at the destination facility will be updated regarding the patient’s status.

With Travel Care, we have streamlined the entire process, so you don’t have to worry about all these steps. We can make all the necessary arrangements with just one phone call from our clients. Our team will handle every detail, from ground transportation to essential medical supplies, equipment, and flight schedules.

We are FAA licensed to operate our fleet, so you don’t need a travel care broker. You work directly with our team from when we pick up the patient to the transfer to the medical facility of your choice.

Insurance Coverage

Depending on their plan, insurance coverages will vary from one traveler to another. Many insurance providers cover emergency flights to the nearest medical facility receiving the patient. Many commercial insurance companies usually provide overseas medical evacuation coverage. Before traveling outside your country, asking about your policies and coverages is best.

Many insurance providers provide coverage for emergent flights. These flights include situations where a person’s bodily organs, life, or limbs are at stake.


Repatriation costs will vary depending on the treatments a patient may require. At Travel Care Air, we guarantee an all-inclusive price with no additional expenses or hidden surprise fees. Additional costs due to changes in a patient’s medical condition must be pre-approved by our clients.

Medical Repatriation Services You Can Depend On

Travel Care Air is the team you can trust if you need air ambulatory service for yourself or your loved one. We operate a fleet of state-of-the-art air ambulances manned by an experienced medical team. We provide patients with all the essential care within your budget. Contact us today, and our specialists will happily answer your questions.


Let us help you find the best transport solutions. Our staff is available 24/7. Fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get back to you within 15 minutes. Or call us - US/CANADA: 1-800-524-7633, International +1-715-479-8881

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