How to prepare for expat emergencies when living overseas
Before relocating overseas, you must first consider these eight important factors to ensure that you are ready to face any medical emergency or accident you might encounter in your new country.
None of us knows what is round the corner. Life is full of surprises — both good and bad especially when it comes to your health.
Accidents and emergencies are upsetting and stressful enough in your home country, being abroad can make things even more complicated. That’s why it’s vital you and your loved ones are prepared for any medical emergencies that might arise in an expat world.
Expat health insurance provider AXA PPP International discusses the eight factors you should consider to prepare for emergencies overseas.
1. Before you go
From whether the water is safe to drink to how you will obtain vital medicines, there are myriad healthcare issues to consider when moving overseas. You can avoid lots of potential emergencies with a bit of forward planning and research.
Check out potential health problems in the local area before making a move overseas and get any vaccinations you need doing at least six to eight weeks before your departure date. You should also check that any standard vaccinations such as Tetanus are up to date before you leave.
Even if you are generally healthy, it is always sensible to take a well-stocked medicine bag when you first move. But if you or someone in your family has an existing medical condition, you also need to ascertain that you can get hold of any necessary medication.
Talk to your doctor well in advance in case the medication needs changing ahead of your move, and ask him or her to write a letter explaining the condition (then translate it if necessary). Make sure too that you know what medicines are called where you are going; generic terms are often more useful than brand names.
An international health insurance policy could prove an enormous benefit should you find yourself facing a medical emergency while living overseas. Look for a policy that offers fast access to quality medical facilities both in your destination country and your country of origin — as well as repatriation in emergencies. Depending on where you are based, the medical care available locally may not be what you desire.
5. Once you arrive
In an emergency, getting the right care when it matters can make a real difference. A bit of research on arrival can prevent an accident or sudden illness turning into a tragedy. Put contact details for emergency services and local treatment providers into your phone. Make sure that you’ve also considered how you might fund any unexpected or emergency medical treatment you might need, for example paying per incident or taking out an international health insurance plan.
6. Local medical care
Once you have arrived at your new home, familiarise yourself with the local hospital and where possible, register with the appropriate medical practitioners straight away. In most European countries, you have to register with a GP who can refer you to a specialist if necessary. However, this is not always the case. In Thailand, for example, even common ailments such as flu are treated in hospitals or private clinics.
7. Emergency services
Take the time to check the local emergency numbers, which are likely to differ from those back home — and make sure your children know how to call the emergency services too. With little ones, you can unplug the landline or take the battery out of your mobile and make practice calls.
8. Medical emergency checklist
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself to ensure that you are ready to relocate or travel abroad:
- Are you registered with a local doctor?
- Do you know the local emergency numbers? (i.e. ambulance and police numbers etc.)
- Where is the nearest hospital accident and emergency unit/emergency clinic?
- Where are your health insurance details? (i.e. phone number and policy documents etc.?
If you’re considering relocating abroad or have recently moved, why not give yourself one less thing to worry about by knowing your healthcare needs are covered. Call AXA PPP International today on +44 (0) 1892 596 420* to speak to experts and get a quote.
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (UK time). Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation.
AXA PPP International / Expatica
Photo Credit: Laurel L. Russwurm (thumbnail).
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