WITH the holiday booked, and your accommodation and travel arrangements in hand, the next thing is ensuring your medical requirements are taken care of.
When looking for medical insurance always advise the insurance company of all your medical problems.
If you are completely honest about all your conditions and you understand what you would liable for in the event of an emergency it will save any unforeseen bills at a time when you are under stress and worry.
Make sure you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which replaces the old E111. The EHIC can only be used in emergency situations, such as hospital, when visiting a doctor you will have to pay €22.
Also keep carry a copy of prescriptions for all the medication you are taking so a doctor at a surgery or at hospital can easily arrange an ordonnance or prescription.
For excellent advice on this subject the government has set up a website.
If you are allergic to any medication it would be wise to invest in a Medic Alert product a bracelet, pendent, watch, sports band or a Medic Alert E-Health Key; a USB flash drive and software with access to your personal health record at any time.
Or, alternatively an SOS Talisman bracelet or pendent; any of these would aid the staff in giving quick and possibly life saving treatment.
Some medication may require a doctor’s letter, certifying you are taking the prescribed medication. It may also be relevant to check with the Embassy about restrictions on taking some medication into the country.
If you require regular healthcare and will continue to need it whilst on holiday, dialysis treatment for example, you can continue to receive this at certain hospitals throughout France. Global Dialysis is a website which shows hospitals, not only in France but worldwide, which provide dialysis treatment.
A problem feared by all wheelchair and mobility scooter users is a breakdown. Many pharmacies will be only too pleased to put you in touch with somewhere which carries out repairs and, in my experience, will provide a replacement while the repairs are carried out.
In considering holidays for the disabled we have concentrated on the disabled integrating with the able-bodied and making the holiday as stress free as possible for them.
For the disabled the most important person in their life is their carer and it is easy to over look the fact that they too need a break from everyday life.
A company called I need a holiday too… is run by Jacqui and Carl Alban from their converted cotton mill in Brittany.
They provide holidays for people with a wide range of disabilities and their carers.
Jacqui says: "In your own home family and friends take on a great deal of responsibility, so we feel they need a break too."
They have accessible accommodation, personal support workers so everyone can enjoy the holiday, a wide range of activities, sensory impairment equipment, loop systems and adapted transport.
They will also give support with cooking, managing money, support with travel arrangements, provide equipment hire and a mobile phone for emergencies.
In the French Alps another company, Disability Holidays Net, believe carers are in need of respite. They run holidays for groups and families caring for adults and children with learning disabilities. The list of activities is endless with swimming, rafting, bowling and skating just for tasters!
In taking the time to plan ahead, choose the right destination, the most suitable accommodation, the most appropriate travel arrangements, ensured you are prepared for any medical situations and any carers can enjoy the holiday too there is no reason why everyone has a bonne vacance.
This is the third and final article by Coral that looks at holidays, travel, holiday accommodation and more in France for people with a disability.
Part 1: Ways to explore France for disabled people
Part 2: Travel and accommodation for disabled people
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Just a note on travel insurance - you don't necessarily have to go to a "specialised" health insurance/travel insurance company.
Several of our guests, this year have used companies like Tescos for example. The reason I say this is that the "specialised" companies tend to charge you "specialised" rates which appear to be extortionate, whereas other companies don't, you may pay a premium but it shouldn't be extortionate!
As Coral said - make sure you are extremely honest and open about your health and that will ensure that if something were to happen you will have adequate cover.
I have also found this year, that guests who have misjudged their medication, or forgotten something, this is nothing that your local pharmacist cannot sort out - bring your prescription and what you normally take and he will take it from there.
Also if you find yourself ill, or feeling unwell, a visit to the pharmacist with the problem often results in a solution, again take all lists of medication you are currently prescribed to ensure he knows what to be able to give you.
One last piece of info - bed sores, skin regimes etc - I have found with one guest staying with me a remarkable lotion/potion available direct from the pharmacist that appears to put a skin/film over the affected area. It was stunningly good, and the gentleman who I was supporting at the time, was amazed to find that after a couple of days the skin was healing, previously in the UK once the skin had broken he had a huge sore for nearly seven months! I had no idea what to ask for - but went with basic words, fauteil roulant (wheelchair) escarres (pressure sore). I am sorry that I don't have the name of the potion, but try it if you do get pressure sores and you're worried.
Posted by: Jacqui | 12 November 2007 at 19:57
Hi Jacqui, many thanks for your message and helpful tips.
I also received a message (from my mum) pointing out the dietary card website:
This offers a card that translates dietary requirements, and whilst there is a small fee, it could prove useful when out and about.
All the best,
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 14 November 2007 at 08:39