40 – Travel – respite and recovery

Fact sheet no. 40

For persons in need of help and care and their relatives

Travel is fun and increases the joy of life, often far beyond the holiday period itself. Mobility impaired people, those diagnosed with dementia or parents with children in need of care do not differ in their basic travel needs from other travellers. Nevertheless, those in need of help and in need of care and their relatives frequently forgo travel. However, there are a large number of special offers with individual support. Important here is reliable information on the details of the tourism offers as an essential basis for the travel decision.

Despite the need for care, travelling should not be forgone!

Details of the trip What is there to consider?
Information and planning Domestic or foreign travel, sea or mountains? Individual package or group travel, by train, bus, plane or ship? Every detail has to be clarified in advance. In addition  to  one’s  own  planning  and  research,  advance  talks  with  tourist information offices at the resort and travel expert advice for barrier-free travel will help.
Arrival and departure Taking into account travel times and individual support needs on the trip, arrival and departure must be well planned. The free train Mobility Services of the railway company can be used. Some tour operators offer a door-to-door service. Airlines offer  in  cooperation  with  the  airports  a  good  service,  especially  for  mobility impaired passengers. For some time now accessible cruises are becoming increasingly popular.
Accessible accommodation In additional to the public areas of the hotel such as the reception and restaurant, can also the rooms, toilets and bathrooms be reached without thresholds? Are signs for the visually impaired available and vibrating alarm clocks for the hearing impaired? Is the onsite staff trained in daily contact with individual support needs?
Nursing care and supervision, aids and health care At home, how is the nursing care during the day and at night? What is also needed on holiday? Does the sporadic service of a nursing service suffice, does someone have to be supervised by the hour or is an assistant needed for round the clock care? Must care must be taken to ensure a particular diet – is the hotel able to prepare this? Which aids such as a wheelchair or hospital bed are needed, what medications are taken, must onsite medical care be available?
Leisure and entertainment For the individual planning of activities at the resort, travel organizers, barrier-free hotels and tourist information advise in advance and provide guidance as to which destinations can be reached and with what kind of support. Some offers at the North  or  Baltic  Sea  cater  for  walks  on  the  beach  with  beach  vehicles  for wheelchair users and have wheelchairs for swimming available.

Respite for caregivers to take a break to recharge their batteries is an important part of any planned care situation and in joint holidays with the person requiring care.  Self-help groups, family relieving services and clubs offer trips with simultaneous support for those needing care. Individual travel free-time for the carer must be planned and it may be necessary to organize replacement.

Accessibility

Accessibility  or  disabled  access  refers  to  easy  access.  This  is  when  there  are  no cumbersome barriers for disabled or wheelchair users, deaf or visually impaired or blind people.

The term “accessibility” in travel offers means in reality often only “wheelchair accessible” – and therefore is to be questioned in detail.

Quality features

“Travel for All” is a new information and evaluation system of hotels and destinations in Germany. It allows each user to assess the suitability of the offer according to his needs. Based on reliable detailed information suitable offers can be selected. Pictograms further illustrate the targeted groups. http://www.reisen-fuer-alle.de/die_kennzeichnung_311.html

Costs and funding

Travel is a private pleasure. The costs are composed of:

  1.  hotel expenses (room and board)
  2.  travel expenses to the resort and back home, and
  3. care and support costs
  4. additional expenses for excursions, entrance fees, souvenirs, etc.

If a level of care has been assigned, care related expenses as well as additional care costs may be borne by the care insurance. If a short-term or day-care centre is used at the destination, the care insurance covers the cost in the amount of available services according to the level of care.

For information and booking, travel providers for assisted travel and wheelchair holidays can be used. On the internet one can find travel portals and providers by using keywords such as: “barrier-free travel”, “Care and  holidays” and “care hotels”.