Booking a Medical Vacation
Research and careful planning are important to ensuring a successful and safe medical vacation.
Do Your Research & Ask Questions
Collect as much information as possible before booking your medical vacation. Issues you should address include:
- How much time can you take off work?
- Are you the right candidate for the procedure?
- Is your doctor board-certified and qualified?
- How many times has your doctor performed this procedure?
- Will other medical staff assist in the procedure?
- What are the risks associated with the surgery/procedure?
- Ask to see before and after photos of the doctor's patients that have undergone the same procedure
- What post-operative care is offered?
- What services and procedures are included in the package cost?
- Are you protected if something goes wrong during the procedure?
Look For Accreditation
Though Costa Rica enjoys one of the best health care systems in Latin America, not all providers offer the same level of service. Always check your facility or physician's accreditation and ask for references from current and past patients. You may also look for the PROMED stamp or that of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). Private hospitals including CIMA, Clinica Biblica and Hospital La Catolica are some of the country's top accredited facilities.
Bring all Medical Records
Make sure you bring all your medical records, including relevant x-rays, doctors' reports, prescriptions, and immunization records. Keep your local doctor informed of any procedures you are considering having performed.
Evaluate Post-Care Facilities
Post-procedure care is a fundamental part of your medical vacation. There are several hotels that cater exclusively to medical tourists, offering post-surgery nursing care and meals along with airport pickup and transport to and from your appointments. An added benefit of these recovery centers is the communal feeling that is shared among patients.
Take a Family Member or Friend
Never underestimate the power of your own personal support system. In an unfamiliar environment, having a friend or family member with you can reduce any anxiety. Someone who is familiar with your concerns can be very helpful both before and after your procedure.
Allow Extra Time for Sightseeing
Plan an extra three or four days before your procedure for some sightseeing. Beaches, volcanoes and mountains are all within a day's drive of San Jose, and many outfits offer economical day trips within the Central Valley. Always better to plan your exploration pre-procedure, since you may not feel like traveling or social situations afterward.