Listen to these suggestions for medical care for seniors who live at home yet don't generally venture outside for a variety of reasons. Home doctor visits!Home doctor visits benefit older adults For many caregivers, getting your senior to the doctor’s office is a nightmare. Whether they’re frail, can’t walk on their own, or have Alzheimer’s or dementia, getting out of the house is hard on both of you. Going to a doctor’s office can also expose seniors to harsh weather and germs. Today, doctors are bringing back the old practice of visiting patients in their homes. With house calls, older adults don’t have to go through the stress and difficulty of getting to the doctor’s office. And neither do you! Another bonus is that these doctors usually spend more time with patients. You won’t have to fit all your questions into a 5 minute visit! Just remember that house calls aren’t for emergency situations (call 911 instead), but they can replace regular office visits. Do they accept Medicare? Yes! Many house call doctors accept insurance, Medicare, and sometimes, Medicaid. It usually costs the same as going for a regular office visit. But every house call doctor is different, so make sure you understand their fees and accepted insurance before making an appointment. How to find a house call doctor Some large health care systems have programs that include home visits by doctors and nurses. For example, Kaiser Permanente’s home-based palliative care program includes house calls. If you’re part of a large health network (like Kaiser) or if you have VA benefits, ask the doctor if they have home doctor visit programs. If your health care system doesn’t have home-based programs, you can still find one in your area. Use Google to search for “house call doctor” + your city or county or “home doctor visit” + your city or county. What to look for in a house call doctor Before booking an appointment, make sure you understand their services, fees, and billing. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- Do you specialize in seniors, Alzheimer’s or dementia, or multiple chronic conditions?
- Do you accept Medicare, Medicaid, or my older adult’s private insurance plan?
- If we want, can we keep my senior’s primary care doctor?
- Will you communicate with my senior’s existing doctors and specialists so their care is coordinated?
A few examples We want to be clear that we’re not recommending any particular home doctor services. These are examples we found to give you an idea of what a house call doctor looks like and what services they offer.
- Bay Area House Call Physicians - California
- Visiting Physicians Association (VPA) - 10 states
- Doctors House Calls - Florida
- House Call Doctors - Texas
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