The convenience of medical visits in the comfort of home has numerous benefits. It completely eliminates the headaches of scheduling, arranging transportation, and waiting room germs. Patients also enjoy a more personalized experience as the provider coming into their home is able to give more focused attention and can observe the patient in their normal surroundings. While Patients often find house call appointments to be far more convenient than an office walk in visit, the consultation fee for a house call visit may be a bit higher. Because of this, patients must consider if the cost is worth it.
Weighing the Costs
The biggest factor in making this decision is to consider that in order to compare apples to apples, you must consider urgent/acute situations. If you do not have access to a house call provider, and you contact your office provider in an urgent situation, you will be advised to visit the emergency department or urgent care. As a result you could end up paying more out of pocket for a hospital or urgent care visit than a house call consultation. Moreover, you will save time, effort, and stress because you don’t have to worry yourself about getting there, waiting in the waiting line, and having family members take off work or neglect other obligations.
House calls are generally less hurried than walk in office visits, emergency rooms, or urgent care clinics. When a doctor visits you at home, they have more time to conduct his physical examination, ask probing questions, and address your individual concerns. They are less distracted because you are their only patient, and therefore have their undivided attention. They can discuss issues that you want to discuss that may be unrelated to your urgent need for home visits; in an office setting, a doctor is only being paid to address one concern at a time so you will have to make another appointment if you want to discuss anything unrelated to the reason you came in that day.
The Germ Factor
Many elderly patients are frail and potentially immunocompromised. This means that a house calls will be a much safer option for them than a walk in office visit. In a waiting room you are exposed to numerous different air borne illnesses in an enclosed area. You don’t know if the person next to you is a carrying a virus or infectious disease. In your home setting, you are only exposed to your own germs which your body is accustomed to.
Easy Access for Routine Care
For aging adults, having access to a physician that comes into the home can be essential to aging well. If you have a loved one aging in place at home, consider a house call doctor for any of the following reasons:
- Chronic disease management
- Annual wellness checks
- Seasonal illnesses
- Diagnostic Problems
- Immunizations and Vaccines
- Lab Tests
- Acute delirium
- Sore Throat
- Many other non-emergency and non life-threatening evaluations
Regular home visits from a physician with a focus on preventative care could help keep your loved one healthy and avoid medical issues that crop up that cause frequent hospitalizations. Call Allegiance Aging Care Services today for help arranging this type of care, serving the greater Northern Virginia region.
About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here.