Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

House Call Medicine
A Prescription for Prevention

Gone are the days when a doctor would arrive at your door with only a medical bag in tow. Today, house call physicians come equipped with the latest mobile medical technology, enabling the homebound, chronically ill and elderly to receive the medical care they need in the comfort of their own homes.

If you have difficulty getting out to visit your doctor, due to disease, pain, blindness or lack of transportation, you are more likely to wait weeks or even months to seek medical attention when you have a problem or change in your health. Ignoring symptoms or skipping regular preventative visits can be very dangerous. Especially for the elderly who often suffer from multiple chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Diseases like these need to be closely monitored to keep minor problems from becoming major issues. If you do have a hard time traveling to visit your physician, there is help for you. Physician house call practices can bring all the benefits of a doctor’s office right to you.

The idea of house call medicine is to provide more routine and preventative care to patients who have a difficult time getting to their physician’s office. Physicians who make house calls are able to spend more invaluable, one-on-one time with their patients than physicians in a typical office setting. This provides them the opportunity to examine living conditions and provide other clues into external factors that may be affecting the health of the patient. Most house call physicians visit their patients once a month to check on their status; which allows them to ensure their patients are nutritionally balanced, are taking the correct dosage of medication and monitoring their blood sugars effectively (if necessary). During these routine visits, physicians can make changes to the patient’s health care plan as needed to prevent a visit to the ER.

Some house call doctors travel with a medical assistant or nurse and can do everything that can be done in a primary-care office. Advancements in medical technology provide them the ability to do laboratory tests, digital x-rays, echocardiograms, EKG’s, vascular studies and ultrasounds all in the comfort of the patient’s home.

It is important that patient’s understand the need for preventative medicine. Several studies nationwide have shown that providing primary health care in the home can cut costs largely by reducing the need for hospital stays and emergency room visits. The American Academy of Home Care Physicians estimates that “At $1,500 per ER visit, the cost of 10 house calls more than offsets the expense of an avoidable ER visit. Savings are even greater for hospitalization.”

In most cases, private insurance and Medicare cover house call visits for patients who have health problems or disabilities that make it difficult for them to leave their home.

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