The Secret Benefits of Medical House Calls

Home Care Nurse and PatientHouse calls by doctors used to be the norm around the 60s, and 70s and then progress took over, and hospitals expanded with doctor’s clinics, and changes just happened. Fortunately, there are home care agencies like Nurses Guild, which is Medicare accredited, that still offer doctor house calls. It’s a good thing too because house calls can reveal more to a physician about the patient than a 10-minute consultation in the hospital.

Patient’s needs are better understood

According to a Medscape study based on 2016 figures, the average doctor’s consultation is from 13 to 16 minutes per patient. It’s not a lot of time to do an in-depth diagnosis, follow-up check-up, and assessment of a patient which is why oftentimes, doctors miss information that has a direct effect on the health of a patient.

For example, it was only after a house call that a doctor realized his patient owned a cat which finally gave the good doctor a clearer picture of why the patient continued to suffer from a persistent exacerbation of her emphysema in spite of the patient’s diligence in taking her medication.

There’s more time to assess the patient

Since no other patients are waiting impatiently in the receiving room, doctors who make house calls feel less pressure to terminate the visit as soon as possible. In fact, there is a tendency for a stronger professional bond to be established, as well as genuine concern for the patient’s welfare.

Less pressure on the patient

The patient is in familiar and comfortable surroundings, making it more likely to be open and transparent to the visiting doctor. The stress of traveling to and from the hospital is also eliminated, which gives the family less reason to feel pressure as well.

Documentation is stricter, which benefits the patient and patient’s family

This year, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) launched its 2017 Work Plan, which demands priority audit for home visits by doctors. This initiative was done because of the gradual increase in home visits since 1999 that led them to question if all medical appointments were necessary. Home visits must now be appropriately documented in case of an audit, and this is more to monitor the home care agency than the patient, but benefits the patient and family because medical records are more comprehensive and complete.

Under the OIG guidelines, every home visit must have “clear documentation” referring to chief complaint, full history, systems reviews, physical and medical exam assessment, and treatment plan regardless if it is a one-time visit or a regular weekly visit.

With these benefits, there’s no reason to hesitate calling for medical assistance if the need arises. Doctors, nurses, and therapists are all here to help patients and their families – and sometimes that requires them to make house visits – if it will help the patient. Call us today at Nurses Guild if you need a doctor to visit you today.