Not too long ago, there was a time when doctor home visits were reserved for the elderly, the very young, or those who were unable to leave their homes for medical reasons. But in recent years, there has been a growing trend of doctors making house calls during the day. So what are the pros and cons of doctor home visits during the day? Let’s take a look.
- Telemedicine and House Call Medical Services
- What does Medical Home Doctor Service look like?
- Advantages of having Home Visiting Doctors
- Disadvantages of Telemedicine and After Hours Medical Care
House Call Medical Services: Telemedicine during the Pandemic
As COVID-19 took hold in March 2020, Australian doctors limited in-person appointments — and many patients avoided them — for fear of infection. The result was a huge increase in remote medical and behavioural health visits. This is where telehealth or virtual medical consultation rose.
Doctors, hospitals, and mental health providers reported a high rise in the number of virtual visits. The COVID-fueled surge has tapered off as patients return to doctors’ offices. But medical professionals and health experts predict that telehealth will still play a much larger role than before when the pandemic is over.
Studies show patient satisfaction with telehealth is high. But with things seeming to go back to normal, on-call home doctor visits may become in demand again.
What does Medical Home Doctor Service look like?
In-home medical care was once a staple in our lives. It was common for doctors to visit patients in their homes for both preventive care and medical treatment. In fact, up until the 1940s, about 40% of doctor visits were completed in the home. After World War II, however, physicians began to take their practice out of the home and into the office – it was simply no longer financially advantageous to visit patients in their homes. Moreover, medical advancements have been innovating to create machines and technology that can only be kept in hospitals.
Though medical house calls largely fell out of practice, they are again on the rise. According to research, physicians’ number of home visits doubled through the years before the pandemic.
You can expect that when you book for a home visit, the call centre will advise you at the time of phoning an approximate time of arrival. Home doctor visits can typically be scheduled within 1-3 hours of receiving your call, with some exceptions on busy and quiet days. The doctors usually give you a phone call when close to your home.
The doctors are fully equipped to provide medical services — e.g. diagnose and treat any urgent problems, conditions, and injuries — for which you would find necessary to be done.
Also, they can suture lacerations, provide wound care, arrange hospital admission, palliative care, catheterisation, incident reports, PEG tube maintenance, verification of death and start medications if required. You should call us during the operation hours when you:
- Need acute care, and you want to avoid the emergency rooms
- Can’t get out of the house or feel too sick to drive
- Have a referral from your GP for a planned or routine healthcare service.
The doctors may refer patients to the hospital if further investigation or management is required.
Advantages of Doctor Home Visits during the Day
People are adopting home doctor bulk-billed services to make life easier for them. This world is very busy, and people don’t have options to stop by and wait for that doctor’s appointment or hours. In the earlier years, every patient was given personal attention because their doctors came home to attend to them. During the war, town doctors were a thing, but you know how science is developing new-age technology for a faster, better treatment? This is a good thing; however, this has led to decreased personal patient service.
Imagine not being well and home alone, and you wouldn’t want to get behind the wheel and make the trip to the hospital. Instead, what would be most practical will be to call a house doctor who would come to your residence. Because of technological improvements, your doctor can now do mobile x-rays. He can make prescription refills and answer all your medical questions at home. If you have a health issue, your doctor may even come to hotels or the workplace if you use a home doctor service instead of a hospital emergency department.
There are times and situations when going to the doctor may be undesirable, such as having an older person at home who can’t be dragged out of bed or has no energy to wait in the lengthy line of people in the waiting room. You could be a single parent, and your child is home alone because most moms are working these days, so you may contact the doctor at home who can care for your kid until you get there.
We all love the word cost-friendly, don’t we? A house doctor service costs you much less than an actual visit to your doctor’s clinic. It is also worth it compared to the stress of you rushing into the emergency, which can also cost you several panic attacks and the possibility of having a million-dollar bill too.
On the other hand, if you will have a self-care health service available at home 24/7, it will cost you much less and make sure that you are provided with the best health care. Studies have also shown that people recover faster when they are in the comfort of their homes, around the people they love, compared to the hospital. And did we mention that we bulk bill?
Hassle-Free Treatment and Care
Elderly adults who are not completely homebound are likely to put off visiting their primary care doctor because it is simply too much of an ordeal. With home health on the rise, complications in sickness due to neglect lessens, making it easier to treat and care for all patients. Can you imagine having a doctor check on you even during Sundays and public holidays? Amazing, right?
In addition to reducing the frequency of hospitalisations and ER visits, in-home care is more personalised than the care most patients receive in a doctor’s office or hospital. Many physicians see 20 or more patients per day, and each visit is very brief. Bringing care directly to the patient becomes far more personalised; treatment is customised to each patient’s individual medical needs. It can also give both patients and their loved ones peace of mind knowing they are being cared for in the comfort of their own homes.
No location restrictions
In-home medical care for the elderly also enables patients who live a significant distance from any hospital or medical office to receive routine care. According to tradition, most elderly homebound patients live 30 miles away from their medical provider. Increasing the availability of house calls would increase care availability for those patients.
Disadvantages of Doctor Home Visits during the Day
A home doctor can be an ideal deal for you and your doctor. However, there are some barriers and disadvantages that come along with it. Below are a few limitations that might come your way while deciding.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that not everyone has access to this type of care. Some individuals may not have access to aged care facilities and health care services based at home due to circumstances like this, so they must be transferred onto computer-literate equipment. You can talk with your after-hours doctor at home freely, but you can’t move the whole hospital there.
You also may not be able to move the whole hospital to your home. In addition, there are occasions when you might not be able to operate the medical equipment. Some equipment is placed in a professional setting with experts on hand who have unlimited access to it. As a result, you may not be able to get the care you need. When an IT problem occurs, for example, and you don’t know how to operate the medical equipment, will you be able to deal with the problem? You can’t. As a result, a home-based medical service (like the National Home Doctor Service) can only provide limited access and a timely cure to your health problems.
Invasion of Privacy
Unless you have a personal relationship with them, doctors are strangers. Unless you live alone and don’t mind having a doctor on call at all times, this may be an invasion of your entire privacy. It’s a little bit weird having someone at your house for longer periods, especially if they’re watching everything you do throughout the day and what your family talks about.
More and more, the house call is becoming a tool for primary care physicians to provide access and reduce institutionalisation of their elderly patients by delivering care in the ultimate patient-centred home: the patient’s home. Now that an after-hours home doctor service is already available here in Australia, let us grab this opportunity to help our elderly relatives or patients receive convenient and reliable home healthcare. Call us at (03) 9069 8713 if you need a home doctor to check on you or a family member.