Home Visits are NOT Just for Older People!
- October 02, 2017 at 12:30pm
- Ben Strachan
Home Visits are NOT Just for Older People!
Brisbane-based Owner Health is a company on the cutting edge of home visit (mobile), practice management application software. We talk to many Australian companies providing home visits on a regular basis, in addition to interested allied health practitioners. One shockingly recurring comment in our business is that,
“Home visits are for old people.”
Although this may have been true in the past, the profile of typical home care beneficiaries is rapidly changing. This blog article seeks to break the “old people” myth. It will explain why home visits are moving beyond its traditional senior base, and may even overtake regular clinic visits in the future.
Past Home Visit Usage.
Until recently, home visits were nearly the exclusive domain of older (60 years and over), wealthier people. “Bricks and mortar” clinics were overwhelming favoured by others, because they were seen to offer more advantages. Chief among them: professional availability (supply), payments and appointment scheduling. In the past, most physiotherapists worked exclusively in clinics, often shunning home visits. However in recent years, the increasing willingness of practitioners and new graduates to go mobile has led to a significant spike in home visits. Regarding payments, when a person received a home (private) consultation, they were required to pay the entire invoiced amount immediately, then claim their rebates later. This often placed a major crimp in the patient's cashflow, and further accentuated the appeal of traditional clinic appointments. Scheduling home visit appointments used to be very complex, as no adequate software was available to manage mobile healthcare professionals. At Owner Health, we belief that we have solved this issue with an application that greatly simplifies and improves scheduling, as well as other home visit management issues.
The Evolution of Mobile Health Attitudes.
Recent advances in health technology have improved the competitive advantage of mobile clinics and thus made them more appealing, especially to younger people (i.e. 18-54 years old). As a result, we’ve seen a rise in after-hours home medical services – much like the trend towards convenience-based services in general (e.g. UberEATS). This demographic is driving home-based healthcare as part of an overall societal shift towards on-demand products and services.
Featured Demographic: Mothers with Young Children.
Home visits are increasingly popular among mothers with young children. Why? Traditional clinic visits can be very problematic for families. Apart from transport considerations, the clinics themselves are rarely child-friendly, causing young kids in particular to become unruly and cause scenes. As a result, many mothers become anxious, since they feel it affects other people being treated. It can be difficult for practitioners to focus on patient consultations in this type of working environment. However, when a physiotherapist attends your home, you don't have to upset your children's routine by bringing them to unfamiliar surroundings. This means they are more settled and less likely to complicate an already hectic day.
Recent surgery, depending on the injury's severity, necessarily will disrupt your normal lifestyle. You are often in great pain (see next section), reliant on others for simple tasks like shopping and transport, and may be on heavy medication. In this case, the convenience of in-home care is clear. The health professional drives to your home, saving you the hassle of unwanted displacement during the post-surgical phase of your recovery.
Dealing with Severe Pain.
If you are in constant pain, leaving the house for treatment is the last thing you want to do. It may hurt just to leave the bed, and there is the risk of spasms or further injury (!) during transport to and from a regular clinic. Naturally, there is a fear factor re. patient mobility and the natural tendency of patients to remain still. While not moving at all is rarely recommended, the process of mobilising to a traditional clinic can cause more pain and discomfort. To the point where any treatment offering relief may be largely negated. Evidently, home visits allow patients dealing with severe pain to receive treatment at home – on their terms.
If we did a survey of total patients using home visits today, it would show that the majority remain in the senior or elderly category. However, a closer analysis would also reveal that the average age of new patients is rapidly decreasing. This reflects the growing acceptance of home-based care, and the ability of mobile practitioners to handle sports injuries and other traumatic situations. Please don't tell me home visits are for older people. On the contrary, everyone deserves in-home care.
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