How to Make Medical Travelers Feel at Home

iStock_19232806_SMALL.jpgMedical tourism is booming, and more medical travelers than ever are making trips across the country or around the world from their homes to access specialized health care and services.

They’re also looking for great places to stay before and after their care. The hospitality industry is an important partner in medical tourism, and there are some key things your property can do to become a medical tourism destination.

No matter what kind of service, surgery or procedure a medical traveler is receiving, you can make their experience smoother and safer with thoughtful planning, staff coordination and a little TLC. For many travelers, your property will be an extension of their hospital stay, and while you aren’t medical professionals, there are things you can do to place them firmly on the road to recovery.

Let’s take a look how you can make medical travelers feel at home at your hotel, inn or resort:

Keep the Family Vacationers and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties Far Away

Peace, quiet and privacy will be just what the doctor ordered for many medical travelers, so have your staff position their rooms away from those families of four, bachelor parties or high school band conventions. At check-in, let the patient and their family members know of your intention so they can rest easy – and appreciate that you’ve planned ahead.

Offer Adjoining Rooms for Family Members or Caregivers

Patients prepping for or recovering from surgeries or procedures may want or need their own private rooms while keeping family members or caregivers close by. Adjoining rooms are a convenient way to give both proximity and privacy to everyone involved while giving the space a home-base feel.

Provide Private Shuttle Service To and From the Hospital

Providing a private car or shuttle between your property and the patient’s hospital or medical center allows caregivers to devote their attention to the patient, not to figuring out directions or toying with a maps app. Coordinating with the family about surgery and appointment times can give your driver time to have the vehicle ready and waiting when it’s time to go, relieving the stress of being late or missing an appointment.

Arrange for Houskeeping to Work Around the Patient’s Needs and Schedule

If the patient has follow-up appointments at roughly the same time every day, ask the housekeeping staff to be sure to make up the room or rooms during that time. If the patient is on bed rest, chances are they’ve been instructed to get up and walk around for a few minutes a day, and housekeeping can swing by around those times. Or perhaps they aren’t leaving the rooms at all, and the staff will need to work around them. In any case, flexibility is key. In interactions with the patient or family, be sure the staff asks whether they need extra bedding, towels or pillows.

Include Healthy, Healing Food Options on Your Room Service or Restaurant Menus

After days or weeks of eating at the hospital, patients and their families will likely be eager for something new, healthy and tasty. Work with your chef or kitchen staff to construct a menu with healthy and palatable food options suitable for someone recovering from surgery or a procedure. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a helpful list of guidelines and ideas, such as foods high in: protein, vitamin C and Zinc, vitamin D and Calcium, and Fiber.

For more information, you may also want to consider pursuing a WellHotel™ Training & Certification offered by the Medical Tourism Association to enhance your staff’s skills and set your property apart.