Remote Traveller Support
Medical conditions you live with every day shouldn't stop your adventure - but get advice from an expert before you go.
Our wilderness-specialist doctors can help you to understand whether your itinerary and activities are compatible with your medical history, and how to mange your conditions and/or adapt your plans to reduce risk.
Pre-trip medical screening is an essential safeguard for participants, leaders or independent travellers visiting remote locations. By discussing your pre-existing medical conditions with an impartial wilderness specialist doctor, travellers can make a fully informed decision about the appropriateness of the activity.
Often individuals will be reluctant to disclose information to non-medical professionals, and particularly friends or colleagues, for fear of jeopardising their place on a trip, or even bringing problems they would prefer to remain confidential to the attention of their social circle or wider workplace.
An impartial system will improve disclosure, and can ensure that everyone involved with the trip is prepared to accommodate any medical needs, and therefore provide the highest standard of preparedness and care for the whole team.
How does it work?
Screening is a multi-step process. The traveller fills in an on-line medical form, detailing any past or ongoing medical issues. Our wilderness specialist doctor will familiarise him/herself with details of the trip, including country, climate, medical facilities available, activity levels, remoteness and altitude, and then assess the traveller’s medical information against the proposed activity. There are then two possible outcomes - the doctor finds no issues that require further discussion, or the doctor arranges a telephone consultation to discuss some medical issues directly with the traveller. In rare cases, the doctor may request copies of the participant’s medical records (with the traveller’s consent).
So will you declare me "fit to travel"?
The doctor’s role is not to declare someone “fit to travel”. The doctor will discuss with the traveller the implications of their medical condition, if any, on the safety of themselves and others taking part in the remote trip. The traveller will then be fully informed and able to make a good decision as to whether or not he/she wishes to participate.
Making sure you know what you're getting yourself into, and that you've planned for an emergency should it arise is vitally important for remote travel. We'll help you with your risk assessments and Emergency Response Planning.
We can help you with your planning, specifically:
Risk assessment - on a country, region, activity or route basis
Emergency response planning - ensuring that you know how to access medical, security, diplomatic and other support in the event of emergency
Medical preparedness - assessing local medical provision
Where is the nearest hospital?
Would you trust it to give you a blood transfusion?
Where would you need to go if you broke your ankle?
What about medical care if you got malaria?
24h Operational Support
Sentinel offers a 24-hour ops room service, which includes day-and-night access to a wilderness specialist doctor. We can help you with routine call-ins and day-to-day logistical support plus emergency incident management should you need it, including emergency medical advice, logistics, liaison with emergency services, insurance and medevac companies, notification of next of kin, employers or other interested parties, consular liaison and any other assistance you may need.
How does ops room backup work?
You will have a dedicated phone line for your expedition staffed by a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT). The WEMT will handle your routine or emergency support requests. You can speak to a wilderness specialist doctor any time of day or night within half an hour. In order to use this service you must have lodged medical declaration forms for every member of the party, an emergency response plan and an outline itinerary with Sentinel in advance of your journey. We can help you write these - please contact us for advice.
Through our sister company Equip-me, we can provide you with your own personalised medical bag containing prescription and non-prescription drugs tailored to your medical needs and itinerary. When you call in for advice, the doctor will direct you when and how to initiate, monitor and complete treatment for your particular medical problem and your set of circumstances. We can also provide first aid equipment suitable for your activities and locations.
How do I get hold of a medical bag?
Medical bags are issued to named individuals. You will complete an online medical questionnaire, and may be asked to speak to our doctor on the phone. The doctor will make sure your bag is tailored to you and your itinerary. Your bag will be sent to you by courier, or you can opt to pick it up in person from our offices. Please contact us or visit the Equip-me website in the first instance.
An example medical bag
The contents of your medical bag will be tailored to you and your itinerary. This list is therefore an example - your bag might be different. A guide price for the general medication bag is £140 (plus VAT). This price includes medical screening, prescription and delivery by courier. Refreshing your pack in subsequent years will incur a lower fee, unless your medical status has changed. An example price for the altitude pack is £30 (plus VAT) when bought with a general medication bag.
General medication bag
Guidance booklet; Contains detailed written instructions for all medications
Dioralyte Electrolyte Powder Sachet (10) for dehydration
Amoxycillin 500mg caps (21) for infections
Ciprofloxacin 250mg tabs (10) for infections
Chloramphenical 4g ointment (1) for eye infections
Sofradex Ear Drops 10ml (1) for ear infections
Clove Oil 10ml (1) for tooth pain
Senna tabs (20) for constipation
Loperamide 2mg caps (30) for diarrhoea
Paracetamol 500mg tabs (64) for mild to moderate pain
Ibuprofen 200mg tabs (24) for mild to moderate pain
Chlorpheniramine 4mg tabs (28) for allergy
Oral Glucose Gel (1) for hypoglycaemia
Adrenaline autoinjector (1)
Salbutamol inhaler (1)
Prednisolone 5mg tabs (56)
Course of malaria prophylaxis, for example Malarone™ (1)
Long lasting insecticide treated bed net (1)
DEET insect repellant 55%, 120ml (1)
Course of malaria emergency treatment, for example Co-Artem™ (1)
Acetazolamide 250mg tabs (12) for AMS and HACE
Nifedipine MR 10mg tabs (14) for HAPE
Dexamethasone 2mg tabs (24) for HACE
First aid equipment
We can also supply first aid equipment (for example, bandages, splints, dressings, monitoring equipment and/or stretchers). We can advise you on what’s appropriate for your expedition.
Virtual Expedition Doctor
Sentinel provides expert wilderness specialist doctors’ advice to help with your medical problems on expedition. From the moment you call in you can relax, knowing that your virtual expedition doctor is there to look after you and make sure you’re on the road to recovery.
The vast majority of medical cases during remote travel are non-urgent. Examples are travellers’ diarrhoea, ear ache or skin infections. Some cases that may appear at first to be non-urgent may become urgent if not managed or identified correctly at an early stage, for example a traveller developing a fever in Kenya may be suffering a self-limiting flu-like illness, or may be in the early stages of life-threatening malaria.
In most cases your virtual expedition doctor will be able to help you manage self-treatment and monitoring, but for more serious cases you may need to seek local medical help - your doctor will be able to help you decide if that’s necessary, and which services are best to use in your circumstances.
How do I access my virtual expedition doctor?
You can access your wilderness specialist doctor any time within UK office hours. Your call will be taken by a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) who will take your details and establish what kind of advice you require. The WEMT will contact the doctor, who will be in touch with you within three hours on the phone number you provide, or if you prefer by email or (for routine questions) via the WEMT.
What about emergencies?
Medical emergencies are handled by travel insurance companies every day. If your condition is an emergency, you should contact your travel insurer in the usual way. They will assess your case and organise appropriate evacuation and treatment.
For parties of up to and including six people, this service costs from £30 per day. Each extra party member will be charged at £5 per person per day.
How do I sign up?
Please contact us to discuss your requirements. We'll make sure we provide you with just the right service for your plans and your budget.