House calls are nothing new in healthcare. In fact, there was a time when house calls would be the main working model for a physician. Increasingly, more and more conditions are being treated in healthcare institutions that never were in the past. Moreover, while the rise of telehealth may have the potential to reduce the load on hospitals and have more patients treated remotely, the main form that this outpatient care takes today remains house calls.
Today though, many doctors will never make house calls. Health Jobs Nationwide (visit website here), a healthcare jobs board service, say that if this is something a graduate is interested in, then it’s best to start planning for it early. Specializing in house calls is a fairly common path for healthcare professionals.
Nevertheless, while specializing in house calls is a discipline in itself, there are many types of care that physicians provide to patients in their own home. This can be medical care, or it can be something more akin to hospice or palliative care.
For nurses, home visits are much more common. This is mainly because continual care (outside of treatment) is normally the responsibility of registered nurses. Accordingly, if you are looking for registered nurse jobs, then you should more or less resign yourself to having to make house calls fairly frequently.
In the end, it depends very much on what specialty you choose, but house calls are still very much a part of medicine – and for their modern, not past, benefits.
Medicine in the Home
For physicians, there is one primary advantage to treating a patient in the home rather than the hospital. This is simply the chance to get to know the patient in their home or, to put it another way, to get a look at how the patient is actually living. Healthcare and recovery are not just matters of medicine and occasional treatment; doctors will nearly always recommend a particular lifestyle and nutrition plan, tailored around whatever the patient is suffering from.
By making home visits, therefore, the physician gets a real look at what lifestyle the patient is living. There is often talk among healthcare professionals of making the “refrigerator biopsy”, which is particularly important for the old, infirm, or terminally ill. The refrigerator biopsy is a quick peek in the fridge to ensure that the patient has enough of the right food to aid with their treatment.
Being in the home, a doctor can also see the more general aspects of the patient’s lifestyle, which in the majority of cases will be nearly entirely concentrated around the home. To put it in another way, this is seeing the patient in the context of their actual life, not out of context in the doctor’s office or in hospital.
So, we have seen how home care has persisted into the modern day; new applications have been found for this very old mode of healthcare. But what does the future for home care hold? We have already mentioned the rise of telehealth, which allows for remote treatment of patients with the aid of communication technology such as video conferencing and remote prescriptions. Certainly, as this becomes more advanced, more duties of care will be able to be performed without house visits. And the patent can still be seen in the context of their own home and lifestyle.
Nevertheless, there are some things that telehealth will not make obsolete. Certainly, the jobs of those nurses who care for the elderly and disabled do not seem set to be replaced by telehealth. Make no mistake, house calls are very much a part of modern medicine.