When travel is a challenge: travel medicine and the ‘dis-abled’ traveller

Bauer, Irmgard (2018) When travel is a challenge: travel medicine and the ‘dis-abled’ traveller. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 22. pp. 66-72.

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Abstract

Travellers with recognised disabilities or the dis-ability to function as required during a trip have been overlooked in the travel medicine literature. This paper provides a starting point for further discussion and research into this neglected traveller population. In contrast, tourism research has explored travel with a disability for some time in order to understand the travellers’ needs and to improve services accordingly. The contemporary bio-psycho-social understanding of disability serves as the framework for exploring motivations to travel as well as barriers, such as inter and intrapersonal, economic, structural and attitudinal obstacles. The demands of complex travel planning are acknowledged. Attention is also drawn to the particular issue of acquired disability. The theoretical discussion is complemented by travellers’ own accounts using as examples mobility impairment on aeroplanes, sensory impairments, and obesity.

These insights should inform high quality travel health care starting with an exploration of the health professionals’ own views on such endeavours. Important are appropriate communication skills, an understanding of the travellers’/carers’ views, wishes and judgment of abilities, as well as the appreciation of the reason for the trip, destination and planned activities. Challenging may be the need to accept that the traveller/carer will be more knowledgeable about the disability, needs, potential problems and solutions than the health professional. Finally, medical requirements for destination and activity need to be combined with the medical requirements for the dis-abling condition. Scarce literature and increasing numbers of travellers with disabilities should make this field a research priority in travel medicine. Unless there is an absolute medical contraindication, travel health professionals should encourage and support travellers for whom travel is a challenge.

Item ID: 52638
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-0442
Keywords: disability, pre-travel care, travel health education, minorities
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2018 03:26
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111703 Care for Disabled @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111004 Clinical Nursing: Tertiary (Rehabilitative) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920403 Disability and Functional Capacity @ 100%
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