It’s no secret that the world is getting older. According to a study by the World Health Organization, the number of people over 60 years old will be around 2.1 billion by 2050. This presents an interesting challenge for society – and the healthcare industry in particular. One potential solution to this challenge is house call services for seniors. This blog post will discuss the seven undeniable advantages of using a house call service for your elderly loved ones!
Why Do Elderly People Need House Calls
In the next two decades, the number of individuals 65 and older in the United States is expected to double, making them the fastest-growing group of the country’s population. Moreover, as the older population grows, so does the average time they stay in the hospital being treated for various chronic illnesses, such as stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over two-thirds of healthcare expenditure in the United States is devoted to treating chronic illnesses. Aside from being costly, the present hospital-based approach to treating chronic illnesses in the elderly is inefficient.
Now, healthcare providers are rediscovering that geriatric house calls and treatments may minimize hospitalizations and optimize the diagnosis and management of conditions.
The Reemergence of House Calls in America
Once upon a time, house calls were a fixture of American life. It was normal practice for practitioners to provide preventative medicine and treatment to people in their homes. Until the 1940s, nearly 40% of medical appointments were in the patient’s house.
Physicians started to move their practices from the house to the clinic after World War II because it was no longer economically feasible to see patients at home. But house calls, which had largely fallen out of favor, are again regaining popularity.
In fact, a study by the American Board of Family Medicine found that the frequency of doctor visits to patients’ homes increased between 2000 and 2006. Over 5,000 primary care practitioners in the United States made more than 1.7 million home visits to clients of Medicare in 2013 alone.
How Does House Calls Work
A trip to the doctor for an older family member might be difficult, if not impossible. Whether they are frail, unable to walk on their own, or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, leaving the house is challenging for both of you. In addition, elders may be exposed to diseases or bad weather when they visit the clinic. Here’s where house calls come in.
A house call is similar to a doctor’s office visit. However, in this case, it is provided by a nurse practitioner in a patient’s home. Moreover, house calls are intended to provide elders with access to necessary healthcare in the safety and convenience of their own residences.
So how does it work? In most cases, you’ll simply need to call your doctor’s office and let them know you’d like to schedule a house call. They’ll then work with you to figure out a time that works for both of you.
During the appointment, the doctor will ask you about your symptoms and health history to make a diagnosis. They may also order tests or prescribe medication.
And that’s it! No need to worry about fighting traffic or finding a parking spot. House calls are a convenient way to get the care you need, when and where you need it.
In addition, every house calls provider complies with strict guidelines to ensure patient safety and offers proper care, diagnosis, and treatment in patients’ homes. However, home visits are not intended for emergencies (call 911 instead). Essentially, they resemble a standard clinic visit.
Benefits Of House Call For Senior
Medical house calls are on the rise as more people look for ways to improve their health. There are many benefits to having a doctor come to your home, including:
Convenience For The Elderly
There are several reasons why elderly patients may choose a house call practitioner. Primarily, it is convenient. Regardless of the patient’s age, the convenience element of house call providers cannot be overstated.
For most capable individuals, visiting a clinic presents no challenges. However, that’s not the reality for some elderly patients who likely consider the nursing home alternative. In fact, among the main reasons elderly people don’t seek medical care is because they can’t go to the doctor’s clinic.
As people get older, their physical abilities, mental function, and reflexes continue to deteriorate. All of these functions are necessary for driving a vehicle, which is the primary mode of transportation for many individuals. For instance, elderly patients with chronic diseases may be less ambulatory, making clinic visits more difficult and exhausting. Moreso, if they are confined to a wheelchair, they may need the assistance of family members to leave home.
Fortunately, house calls for the elderly eliminate the need to travel to a clinic to get medical care. The premise that a house call practitioner visits your home eliminates the need for transportation and makes treatment possible. Simply pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with one of EG Health’s registered nurse practitioners if you have an elderly relative who is sick or simply needs an annual exam.
Individualized Medical Care
House calls greatly enhance the patient-carer experience, making it more tailored to your individual requirements. In addition, house calls tend to be less rushed and more thorough. This gives healthcare practitioners a greater opportunity to speak with patients, analyze their symptoms, carry out a full examination, and develop a therapy if necessary.
Additionally, another degree of care may be offered at home that can’t be provided in an emergency department or even after years of physicians’ visits. When a house call practitioner visits a patient, they can assess their house for any evident issues contributing to the patient’s condition.
In addition, patients are involved in decision-making during house calls. This element enhances the likelihood of patients complying with their treatment plan. For example, a patient is more inclined to participate in therapy if they are knowledgeable about wellness management. High levels of involvement build a favorable connection between healthcare practitioners and their patients, which enables them to accomplish their goals.
Reduce the Risk of Infections
As we become older, our bodies create fewer T cells that fight disease-causing cells, so our immune systems may not be as robust as they once were. Inadequate immune cells mean it takes longer for hazardous pathogens to be eliminated. Hence, seniors are at risk of developing new diseases, which might lengthen their recovery period.
In addition, since they lack a strong immune system, they are more vulnerable to organisms that might harm their health. Other than that, older people may have health problems that make them more likely to get sick from bacteria. Thus, the risk of infection is increased when other patients and healthcare workers are involved.
Since the elder patient doesn’t have natural defenses, they are more susceptible to infection. So, there’s a chance that patients pick up other illnesses as a result of their condition. House calls, on the other hand, allow patients to avoid direct contact with medical professionals, so decreasing their exposure to other infections.
Moreover, during house calls, patients may keep an eye on their doctors’ personal hygiene, such as hand washing. This can help avoid the transmission of infections that can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Involvement of the Family
Most elderly people would prefer house calls since they can be surrounded by relatives during their consultation. They will have a sense of security and a support system in their families, which has a favorable effect on their overall well-being. Moreover, elderly people who are more connected with their families may avoid the isolation which may lead to sadness and a decline in health.
Lonely seniors may develop a low sense of self-worth because they may question why their friends and relatives would not like to spend some time with them. When they are among their family during house calls, they are reminded of how much everyone loves and cares for them. This may boost the senior’s cognitive abilities.
Moreover, seniors who keep strong social ties with family may have reduced blood pressure, improved immunity, and better inflammation levels. Seniors’ well-being will also be improved if they are actively involved in their household. Thus, having their family around is vital in enhancing their health and wellness.
Having an appointment in the patient’s house gives seniors a greater sense of control over their care. As people become older, they tend to lose some of their freedom. The loss of autonomy causes feelings of melancholy and frustration, which may impair their social skills, well‐being, cognitive abilities, and physical abilities.
A house call can provide a much-needed sense of autonomy for seniors, especially those who may not be able to get out and about as much as they used to. No need to rely on family or friends to take you to the doctor – the doctor can come to you!
Another major reason that can keep older people from going to the doctor is the fear of being seen. Some individuals are afraid to accept that they’re becoming older and needing medical treatment. A house call practitioner eliminates this fear and guarantees that the visit is as private as possible.
Early detection and management of health concerns
Home calls from health care professionals can play an important role in the early detection and management of health concerns. They provide an opportunity to closely monitor a person’s health, identify potential problems early on, and offer tailored guidance and support. Home visits can also help build trust and rapport between patients and their care providers, which can encourage more open communication about sensitive health issues.
In addition to detecting and managing health concerns, home visits can also provide other important benefits. They can promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles, provide social and emotional support, and connect people to community resources. Home visits can also help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Saves Time And Money
Healthcare for the elderly may be costly, and compounds when the patient has more chronic conditions. Most seniors often visit emergency rooms, which may result in additional charges for ambulance transportation on top of laboratory tests, prescriptions, and X-rays.
Moreover, seniors often spend too much time in the ER and the waiting area merely to see a specialist. Plus, the trip alone to and from the hospital is exhausting for the patient and their caretakers. They most likely had to put up with the unpleasant medical atmosphere while incurring the high costs that came with it. House calls, on the other hand, allow patients to avoid needless hospitalizations since they get treatment at home.
Analyzing the cost of healthcare for the elderly may lead you to believe that home call physicians are not viable. Still, in certain instances, they may be the most cost-effective alternative. Rather than paying for the transportation costs of a homebound elderly patient, which might cost as much as S$100, or the care of chronic illnesses, a house call practitioner would be a cheaper alternative.
There’s an old saying, “There’s no place like home,” yet it couldn’t be more true. Receiving all necessary treatment at home is a great advantage to a patient’s ease, comfort, and ability to focus only on getting well, given the frightening circumstance that led to the need for urgent care. It is time to give the elderly a rest.
If you want the finest, safest, and most personalized treatment possible for your elderly loved one, you should consider house calls for seniors. The benefits are numerous, from the security and convenience of your home to the savings in both money and time.
EG Healthcare can help if you need a health professional to come to your home to help the elderly or anyone else in your family. To schedule an appointment, give us a call or click here. We’re here to help you get back on the road to health.