Pilot scheme sees doctors making house visits
Letting doctors make house calls for elderly patients could both improve the quality of care they receive and save money, according to a review of one such program.
By meeting older patients in their homes, doctors can help divert patients from frequent visits to the emergency room. The elderly can also avoid making trips to and from hospitals or doctor offices, which can be challenging for those with frail health.
Jesper Poucette is a physician who has been making house calls for three years in the Skaraborg region of western Sweden.
"It is much easier," Poucette told Swedish Radio's local channel in Skaraborg. "When they come to the health center, they are often tired and forget to ask about things they really wanted to ask."
An evaluation of the home care program in Skaraborg showed visits to the ER for the very sickest patients dropping by 80 percent and the number of days spent in hospital falling by more than 90 percent. Both translate to savings for the health system.
Patients in Skaraborg are also satisfied with their visits. Eva Flinck, 95, of Lidköping said she appreciated her hour-long visit by Poucette.
"This here was very good, that they come to the home. Then you don't have to put on some nice clothes, but can just be as you are," she said.