Saturday, April 19, 2008

Caregiving: home care, care facility, house call?

“The current flu season has been more severe than the last three, with more doctor visits and more deaths from flu and pneumonia, federal health officials are reporting.” 


When you are a caregiver then the above is so much more than a news sound bite.


Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis is all about a compromised immune system. A doctors visit is an odyssey with a non-ambulatory, wheelchair confined person. Cognitive problems and memory loss impairs Patti from successfully communicating and participating in her own medical care.


Even though Patti was vaccinated, the CDC reports flu vaccine failing in US.


(Excuse me for a moment; this all drove me to my Echinacea bottle for a fix.)


Wednesday, while out of town, I received a call on my cell phone from Patti’s care facility.


Her doctor while making rounds had not liked the sound of Patti’s chest and her level of upper respiratory congestion. Doctor ordered an X-ray and upper respiratory protocol which involved immediately beginning prescription nasal decongestant and cough medicine.


In the home care days this scenario as a caregiver would have been quite different. Hours if not the better part of day would have been involved, making an appointment and transporting Patti to doctor’s office, then X-ray lab, and of course stopping at a pharmacy for prescriptions. Plus periodic return trips home to change Depends and clothing for bowel and bladder incontinence.


At her care facility medical care comes to her, the doctor, the x-ray machine, and prescriptions are delivered and administered.


When you are dealing with a weakened immune system do not kid yourself and believe time is not of the essence.


Later in the day, a follow up call on my cell phone advised Patti’s chest X-ray was negative.


Over the last couple evenings I’ve been able to focus on the TLC functions like Kleenex supply, Coldeze lozenges, and of course Dairy Queen sundaes before bed.


Interestingly, Massachusetts which currently is our national experiment in healthcare reform actually has a option falling somewhere in the middle of homecare and assisted care … the ‘house call’.



(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 





  1. that would be wonderful for doctors to go back to their old ways and make house calls again, especially in circumstances like this; I actually typed for a group of doctors in Montana that would make the occasional house call to those who could not get to the office; I highly respected them for doing that, often at the end of a long day in the office/hospital and before they went home to their families

    hope Patti makes a quick and speedy recovery; I'm sure those Dairy Queen sundaes played a vital role :)


  2.  It would be wonderful.  We are having the flu and C-diff making the rounds right now.  Less exposure the better.  Most of them positive for the flu were vaccinated.


  3. There was a Visiting Physicians program in NE Ohio, when my husband was still at home, they would visit once a month, although for something like the flu, you had to make the trip to the Dr. Office.  They didn't work together, so you had to transport script information and changes in care between the two.  They also had a portable x-ray that would come right to the house.  I know that care has improved over the last 5 years, there's still a long way to go yet.  I hope Patti misses the flubug completely.
                                               Smiles,  Leigh

  4. hope patti is feeling better:) its great that everything comes  to her and she gets what she needs quick. have a wonderul Sunday


  5. .......the only reason that Mom finally had the cancer taken care of was a visiting nurse, a camera, and a doctor's home visit on his lunch break.  He drove 10 miles both ways.  the nurses took a picture and went to his office with the picture.  Mom would not go to a doctor, and when i finally got her there she would not let him look at the cancer.  So I am eternally grateful for this small town clinic doctor who would make a home visit.  

  6. Hope Patti feels better soon......your tlc is a magic potion in itself. Rache


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