Heading overseas for cosmetic or dental surgery, or IVF? Before you jet off for a treatment, familiarise yourself with these 10 expert tips, to ensure your medical travel experience is safe and enjoyable.
Increasingly Australians are heading overseas for medical treatments that they want and need, saving money and avoiding long waiting periods at home – all with a little sun and surf on the side, in destinations like Thailand and Malaysia. Over 25,000 Australians travelled overseas in 2014 for a whole range of treatments, from teeth whitening, to breast augmentation surgery, to IVF.
Before you jet off for a treatment, medical travel platform MEDIGO has prepared 10 top tips for ensuring your medical travel experience is safe and enjoyable.
1. Involve your GP
If you’re thinking about having a treatment done overseas, have a chat to your local GP, who will be vital in the pre and post-procedure processes, from administering pre-operative exams to providing post-treatment care. If it’s dental work you’re after, ask your local dentist for some x-rays that you can pass onto the overseas hospital for the most accurate pre-appointment assessment.
2. Research doctors and clinics
To ensure high quality of care and safety, research and choose qualified practitioners, as well as a facility accredited by a reputable international organisation such as the Joint Commission International (JCI). Look for hospitals and clinics that have official seals of approval from accreditation bodies regarding their quality standards, doctor qualifications and facilities.
3. There’s no such thing as a silly question
Something you’re not sure about? Always best to ask the doctors themselves. Consult with the overseas doctor before travelling and ask all the questions you need to assess whether the treatment is right for you.
4. Learn from others
Take part in discussions with patients who have had similar treatments at your hospital or clinic, to find out how it was for them, from their pre-treatment assessments, right through to post-operative care. Websites may be a good resource for those looking to read patient reviews. If you can't find any information online, ask the hospital or clinic for a patient reference!
5. Budget balancing
Figure out what your budget will be for the treatment, as well as any extras associated with your trip and accommodation. Getting quotes from the clinics will help you to know what prices you can expect. Maybe set aside a little extra for some pampering – you can’t head to Thailand or Malaysia without spoiling yourself with a cooking class or a massage!
6. Pick the level of insurance that’s right for you
Just as you would for any other overseas holiday or surgery at home, finding the right insurance is essential. Opt for high-level insurance that can even cover you for check-ups and treatments once you’ve back home.
7. Book your accommodation and flights
Everybody loves a relaxing holiday, right? Just because you are heading overseas for treatment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a great time while you’re in your destination. Pick a hotel that isn’t too far from your hospital or clinic, and when you book flights, you should allow for a good amount of time on either side of the appointment date.
8. Two’s company
Consider asking your partner, a family member or a friend to accompany you on your trip, as on-site support can help ensure you have a great experience and hasten your recovery.
9. Prepare for your recovery
Your creature comforts may be unavailable in the destination country, so make sure you are prepared, whether it’s with your favourite brand of chicken soup, a series to binge-watch on your laptop or pillow from home that makes you feel better!
Keep in touch with the hospital or clinic where you had your treatment done. Just as you would do if you had treatment in Australia, keep your local GP in the loop as well, as they will be important in your recovery process too.