House calls are an age-old physician strategy that dates back to the earliest days of professional medicine. Just a couple generations ago, it was very common for doctors to stop by the homes of people in the community who were sick, frail, and injured.
With more reliable transportation and the growth of cities, those traditions were replaced with enormous hospitals and specialty clinics that require travel for patients seeking treatment. But due to the high cost and limited accessibility of healthcare today, house calls have seen a recent revival and hold great promise for the future of home health care.
Here’s why house calls could be the modern solution to many health issues that seniors face in hospitals today.
An Alternative to Hospital Stays
Seniors are choosing to stay in their homes longer with mobility devices like the Bruno stair lift and flexible health care options like house calls. For some seniors, house calls are a better option than hospital stays because factors like interrupted sleep, dietary changes, and long days in bed can have profoundly negative impacts on the elderly. Long hospital stays can set off a chain of events that lead seniors into a downward spiral of health; however, recovery time after an accident or illness may be much quicker if left to more familiar and comfortable surroundings.
Technologies That Make House Calls Possible
Many modern technologies have improved the ability of doctors to treat patients in their own homes in terms of accuracy of diagnoses and the various diagnostic tests a doctor can offer during a house call. For example, doctors can now bring a portable ECG, glucometer, pulse oximeter, and digital thermometer to seniors’ homes to conduct testing and follow-up appointments in a more convenient way. Other technological advances that have contributed to the expansion of home care include intravenous infusion technology, radiography, ultrasound, feeding pumps, ventilators, and hand-held blood analysis devices.
Modern medicine and house call-style care have begun to embrace an inter-professional team approach that involves doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and social workers all working together for the benefit of the patient. Through collaborative efforts, high-quality comprehensive care that used to only be available at hospitals can now be brought directly into the home. This shift also creates significant cost savings for individual hospitals the health care system as a whole.
Benefits for Seniors with Limited Mobility
The old tradition of physician house calls, now in its modern form, stands to benefit many seniors, especially those with mobility issues. When you have trouble just getting out the door and into a car, like so many seniors do, getting to the doctor’s office can be as big of a risk as not seeking treatment at all. Seniors who take advantage of medical alert systems to ensure safety, Bruno stair lifts to improve mobility, and in-home health care are often safer, happier, and more content than those confined to hospital beds for non-life-threatening conditions.
Home care still needs to find its rightful place in the U.S. healthcare system, and leaders in the field of medicine must fully recognize the value of home care in order to develop and implement these strategies for the rapidly growing senior population. But with the dedication of talented doctors and their teams, we can make great strides in helping seniors age in place while living safe and healthy lives at home