The idea of doctors making house calls became a thing of the past, but there has been a recent resurgence in the number of doctors who offer that service and the number of patients who are requesting it. What was generally believed to only be offered to the rich and powerful is once again becoming something that many Americans can choose. It’s a popular option for people who live far from hospitals or doctors’ offices, or for those who can’t easily get out and about to see their doctor or otherwise take care of their medical needs. It’s also a convenient option for very busy people.
House Calls Are Valuable Services for the Elderly
For older patients, having a doctor who makes house calls can make a big difference in their medical care and their financial state. It can be expensive to see a doctor or go to the hospital for care or treatment, which can lead some elderly people to avoid those things. They may be concerned that they won’t be able to pay medical bills after their treatment or care is complete, so they simply avoid that care or treatment. With a doctor who makes house calls, they can have someone come to them, and that typically costs much less than other options. Not only do they get the care they need, but it’s much more affordable for them.
Home Visits From Doctors Can Reduce Anxiety
No matter the age of the patient, many people get anxious when they see a doctor. Commonly termed “white coat syndrome,” it can raise a patient’s blood pressure and heart rate, speed of their breathing, and give them other symptoms of anxiety, as well. Among the ways to reduce that fear and stress is to have a doctor come to the house. While seeing a medical professional can still make a person nervous, it’s generally easier to handle if the patient is in familiar surroundings like their own home. Raising their comfort level can go a long way toward helping them feel better.
Everyone’s Medical Needs Are Different
Depending on the kinds of medical needs a person or a family has, having a doctor come to their home can be the perfect solution to their care. Busy people who don’t have a lot of time to sit in a doctor’s office can schedule a house call when it’s convenient for them, whether they need a basic checkup or more advanced care. It’s also a good option for people with limited mobility or other impairments, and families with young children. Getting all the kids together to take them to the doctor can be a stressful experience for everyone, but having a quick checkup at the house is often much easier.
Locating the Right Doctor
Finding a doctor who makes house calls may still take some time. Not every doctor offers these services, and locating one that does may be easier in urban areas or in specific areas of the country. However, as more doctors start offering house calls again, there will be more opportunities for patients to get any care they need right in their own home. The doctors who do make house calls understand that some patients want or need the convenience of having a doctor come to them, and it also provides everyone with a more personalized experience. That can go a long way toward the quality of the treatment a patient receives.
Fewer than 15% of doctors offer house calls, and of those doctors most don’t make very many house calls based on the number of patients they actually see in their practice. Even fewer doctors run mobile physician services, operating their entire practice on house calls. Still, doctors are offering these services in increasing numbers, and there are indications that these numbers will continue to rise in the future.