Health and wellness Programs in Boise’s Retirement Communities now have a new member – PHYSICIANS! Until now, residents of Boise’s Independent Living and Assisted Living Communities struggled to communicate with physicians, follow telephone orders or recommendations, make appointments, and arrange off-site transportation to physician offices. Many seniors don’t have either the ability or the assistance they need to meet these challenges, and so necessary medical services are often neglected, leading to worsening health, preventable falls, trips to the ER, hospitalization, and nursing home placement. But this familiar scenario is about to change now that timely, on-site PHYSICIAN primary care services can be integrated into a Retirement Community’s existing Health and Wellness Program. Those communities that embrace this new member of their Health and Wellness Team will prosper as a result of the improved health of their residents that will naturally lead to improved census.
When Physicians and Retirement Communities partner together, EVERYBODY WINS!
Imagine the promotional value of including the following in a Retirement Community’s print marketing:
“We give TOP PRIORITY to the health and well-being of our residents. That’s why we partner with House Calls who coordinates our resident health services. We offer our residents the option of receiving full primary care services delivered by a caring physician who comes to you, in the comfort and convenience of your own room, at no extra charge.
Why would you choose to live anywhere else?”
Retirement Communities that partner with House Calls and promote an emphasis on residents’ health will grow their census in 2 ways:
1. They will attract more new residents who will choose a community where a physician performs their primary care in the comfort of their own room.
2. They will lose fewer residents from failing health due to quicker and easier access to healthcare from the House Calls physician.
There is NO BETTER WAY a retirement community can distinguish itself from among its competitors than to promote its emphasis on the health and well-being of its residents through its partnership with House Calls!
But when you DON’T take healthcare to the elderly, very often the elderly DON’T get the healthcare they need. They put off seeking care for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the many difficulties in accessing healthcare. And this leads to worsening of chronic medical problems, unnecessary trips to the ER or hospitalization or possible loss of Retirement Community residents to a nursing home and therefore lowering of community census. Here are just 3 examples we’ve encountered during our 1st month of service at one Retirement Community (the names have been changed):
John has difficulty getting to his physician’s office and making appointments and therefore hasn’t seen him for many months. He is overweight but has been losing his appetite, getting weaker, and falling a lot. He recently fell while trying to get into bed, couldn’t get up, and spent the entire night on the floor before being discovered by the housekeeper in the morning. He refused to go to the hospital because of his fear of ending up in a nursing home.
Sarah has also been falling and has swollen feet and ankles and an open sore on her big toe which she cannot reach to provide proper care. Although she ambulates slowly and unsteadily with a walker, amazingly she still drives and has driven herself to the ER 3 times during the past week for various issues, each time being discharged home with directions for wound care which are impossible for her to follow.
Fred recently moved into the Retirement Community from out of town. Although he has several chronic health conditions, he feels well and is medically stable. He needs a primary care physician to fill his prescriptions and for routine care but has no idea how to go about finding a good physician and one who takes Medicare.
House Calls proactively became acquainted with these residents because of our daily presence and visibility in the Community. We are now coordinating primary care services with Dr. Jones (one of our House Calls physicians) as well Home Health and Personal Care services for these residents. John’s and Sarah’s health is starting to improve, Fred not only has a caring physician who takes Medicare but who provides full primary care in the convenience of his own apartment, and the Retirement Community has maintained its census.
House Calls is achieving its vision: EVERYBODY WINS!
This past month, 10 residents with moderate-severe dementia who live in 2 small assisted living facilities in Boise were given primary care services in their rooms by our House Calls physician, Dr. A.C. Jones. As a result of this on-site service, the facilities were spared the inconvenience and expense of arranging staff to transport 10 difficult-to-manage residents off-site to 10 different doctor’s appointments, wait in the waiting rooms, and then transport the 10 residents back to the facilities again. These 10 residents, therefore, experienced a comfortable examination in the familiar surroundings of their own room by a caring physician and did not experience the psychological stress and behavioral difficulties that are usually precipitated by being transported off-site for these routine doctor’s appointments.
So…what are the consequences of House Calls services?
- Contented, comfortable residents.
- Satisfied and reassured families who are impressed with this assisted living facility because their loved ones are now cared for by the House Calls physician and will no longer need to experience the stress and risk of being transported away from the facility for routine appointments.
- Relieved, unstressed employees whose services were not diverted from the facilities and who did not have to struggle with the difficulties and assume the risks of transporting residents to outside appointments.
- A very pleased owner of the facilities because he can now offer less costly and safer and more convenient healthcare to his residents.
House Calls is realizing its vision: EVERYBODY WINS!
House Calls implemented on-site physician services and healthcare coordination in a Boise Independent Living Retirement Community in October 2012. During this month, 8 community residents received primary care services by the House Calls physician, Dr. A.C. Jones. Two of the 8 residents were in failing health and at very high risk for either requiring hospitalization or moving to Assisted Living. Problems included multiple falls, not being able to get up after falling, weakness, reduced appetite, confusion, not taking medications reliably, depression, and unable to perform ADLs. The family of one of the residents was actively exploring Assisted Living facilities as an option but preferred their father to remain in his current Independent Living Community if at all possible. Neither resident had the ability to confront the difficulties and stress of arranging appointments and transportation to and from their doctor’s office.
House Calls was alerted and began coordinating medical services with Dr. Jones as well as arranging for and coordinating Home Health and Personal Care services. Both residents are now getting stronger and feeling significantly improved, able to assist with their ADLs, and take their medications reliably. The decline in their health has been interrupted, and with continued care and healthcare coordination, the risk for leaving the community for health reasons has been greatly reduced.
For each month these 2 residents remain in this retirement community as a result of their improved health, $3000 is saved in rental fees, and census is maintained!
Already in November, 2 additional very high risk residents in this community have been identified by House Calls and will soon be receiving care from Dr. Jones and our healthcare coordination services.
The value and savings realized by a small investment in House Calls cannot be matched by any other amenity or service offered by a retirement community.
Partnering with House Calls yields the most positive and effective service possible that will not only maintain but also grow a Retirement Community’s census!