The Devil is in the Details

Travel preparation is of upmost importance for a successful trip.  Here are some of the details that we have found help our travel experience.  Prior to travel, staff produced books outlining the schedule and activities that individuals will experience during their travel are given to the individuals participating.  These books can be print, electronic or both and should use both pictures and words to ensure that the schedule is understood and there are as few surprises as possible.  For ideas, watch the video produced by Carol Grey at https://carolgraysocialstories.com/social-stories/what-is-it/ .  I like to begin with the air travel, cover what staff will be traveling with the individual, outline where the individual will eat, sleep and activities they will participate in daily.  Then explain the flight home and end with a picture of the individual’s house they will return to after the trip.

 There should be a master binder that is with a staff person on the trip containing:
· copies of all individual’s identification,
· copies of ISP pages outlining medication administration instructions and required supervision levels,  
· copies or originals of emergency medical authorizations and
·confirmation information for lodging, ground transportation, air transportation and any other reservations. 

 All staff should be given an itinerary outlining the entire trip and staff schedule indicating what staff will be staffing what individual for each hour of the trip.  Families and staff should be sent a packing list prior to the trip to ensure each individual has what they need for the trip as well as an emergency medical form and Release of Liability.

Involving the nurse in travel planning is important because there will be individuals who do not receive medication administration from staff while at home but will need to receive medication administration from staff on the trip.  The nurse will need to contact parents or individuals prior to the trip in order to generate Medication Administration Records (MAR) for these individuals for documentation of medication administration during the trip.  The nurse will also request pictures of all medication bottles that will go on the trip to ensure they are correct before travel.  The nurse will also oversee the final check of all medications and MARs prior to departure on the first day of travel.  Many things can be easily obtained at the vacation location if they are forgotten at home, but medication is not one of them.  It is imperative that medications are checked and carried in the carry-on ensuring the safety of individuals served.  Medication can only be administered by appropriately certified staff during travel in the same way that staff require medication administration certification to administer medication when at home.  The schedule should outline who will administer all medication to individuals for the duration of the trip.  With appropriate, detailed preparation, all individuals can have a successful travel experience and enjoy vacationing in the way their non-disabled peers do no matter what unforeseen events occur.