House Calls Makes Front Page of the Idaho Statesman!

House Calls is proud to be recognized with a front page article in the February 25th issue of the Idaho Statesman.  Seniors are an under-represented population in outpatient healthcare, and we hope to be part of the solution.

Please read about us in the following link.  And when you do, watch out for Molly!

House Calls newest partner – Bonaventure Place!

House Calls is proud to announce its newest partner – Bonaventure Place in Boise, Idaho!  A gorgeous, spacious community combining both Independent and Assisted Living with many wonderful amenities.  And now Bonaventure Place is one of the only Retirement Communities in Idaho who brings the doctor to the residents!  Any resident may choose to have some or all of their full primary healthcare services provided in the comfort and convenience of their own apartment!  No additional cost – just additional care and comfort!

Come to Bonaventure Place in Boise!  Take a tour, talk with the House Calls doctor.  We look forward to being your next home!

When Health Fails in Retirement Communities: a 3 Step Program for Proactive Healthcare Intervention

Health related attrition is a major ongoing challenge to the census of any Retirement Community.  A solution to this challenge is a COMMITTED FOCUS on a program of Proactive Healthcare Intervention.  Such a program is not only easy to implement with common sense ideas, it’s free!

Here’s my suggestion for a simple 3 step program that will be effective and easy to explain to employees.

Figure 1

Under Step 1: Create a position called: Director of Proactive Healthcare (DPH).  Enlist the support of every employee:  housekeepers, bookkeepers, secretaries, maintenance personnel, bus drivers, cooks, activity directors, everyone.  Encourage everyone who interacts with residents to actively observe for any signs of health problems and to report any concerns immediately to the DPH.

Under Step 2:  The Inflection Point (shown in Figure 2) occurs as soon as signs of failing health are noted.  When the Inflection Point has been reached, take immediate action!  “Don’t wait, or it’ll be too late!” can be your motto.

Figure 2

Here are some examples of failing health employees may observe and then report to the DPH:

  • Frequent falls
  • Bruising
  • Limping
  • Moving slower than usual
  • Missing meals or residents requesting meals in their room
  • Problems taking medications appropriately
  • Pills noted on the floor or lying around on countertops in resident’s apartment
  • Worsening depression
  • Less socializing
  • Confusion

Residents exhibiting any of these signs should be put on a “watch list” and monitored by the DPH until they are back to baseline.

Under Step 3:  The most reliable way of getting a timely and appropriate response from a physician is NOT by telephone.  When a concern is raised, the DPH should go personally to the office of the resident’s physician and speak with him face-to-face.  Provide a concise, accurate description of the changes observed with the resident, and request an office visit at the first possible opening.

As you can see, these are 3 very simple and yet effective components of a proactive focus on the healthcare of your residents.  Implementing these suggestions is easy, does not require any additional expense, and will benefit everyone.

If you have any further thoughts or suggestions about the role of physicians in Retirement Communities, I urge you to comment on the House Calls blog.

This is an important topic, and I look forward to continuing this discussion and hearing other points of view.

HealthCare in Retirement Communities: Passive is No Longer an Option.

After reviewing the advertising of my local Retirement Communities, I asked myself:  “What stands out?”

The answer? “Nothing.”  That’s right, nothing.  Absolutely nothing stands out.  Everybody looks the same.

I challenge you:  review the advertising of 10 different Retirement Communities.  Then close your eyes and name 1 single feature that distinguishes any 1 or 2 of the communities from all the others.

Did you have any luck???  If you did, you’re better than I am!  I don’t mean silly things, like “Imagine the excitement of that perfect bridge hand!”  I mean things of substance and real value that seniors will appreciate as a welcome exchange and even motivation when moving to a Retirement Community from the home in which they have lived for so long.

Consider this:  many Retirement Communities spend as much as $5000 – $10,000 per month, EVERY MONTH, on advertising (or even more).  And yet the ONLY thing they accomplish is to make themselves look IDENTICAL to every other Retirement Community.  Same amenities, same verbiage, even many with the same stock photos of the same happy and smiling seniors!

Retirement Communities operate in an incredibly competitive market, and this only promises to intensify with the coming of the Baby Boomers.  So why are Retirement Communities so willing to invest so much money into something that makes them appear so ordinary and average, but are yet so reluctant to invest even 1/10th of that amount in a service (HealthCare) that brings real value and will distinguish them among all their competitors?  The psychology of this observation is hard to understand.

Those who represent Retirement Communities are abundantly aware that HealthCare is one of the TOP CONCERNS of ALL seniors.  This is an opportunity!  So why not take advantage of this opportunity and offer a service that every senior wants and that promises the best chance for not only stabilizing the census but recruiting new residents and growing a community’s census?

In Boise, Idaho, some physicians have stepped up to the challenge and will now provide full primary care in the comfort and convenience of your resident’s rooms.  Yes…it requires a very modest investment to make this happen.  Yes…it requires a community to ACTIVELY participate in the health and wellness of their residents.  But the compelling advantages of this investment FAR outweigh the modest cost.

The Retirement Communities, both Independent and Assisted, who will be thriving in this competitive market 3, 4, or 5 years from now will be those who are prepared to capture the Baby Boomers who bring greater expectations.  The Communities that survive will be those who are proactive NOW and adapt to the changing demands and needs of their residents.  The “passive” approach, when it comes to healthcare, is simply no longer an option.