It’s safe to say that the past year has been unlike one we’ve ever experienced. COVID -19 has disrupted all of our lives to varying degrees, and forced us to adapt to the “new normal.” Without question, one of the industries most disrupted in 2020 was healthcare. In addition to the wave of new regulations and increased demand for things like PPE, ventilators, and hospital beds, and vaccines, COVID -19 has also accelerated the preexisting trend of seniors opting to receive medical treatment in their place of residence rather than in a doctor’s office. As we move into 2021 and a post-pandemic world, the demand for home care is expected to continue rising. Hospitals, nursing homes, and families need to be prepared, and must know what options are available to them.
There are many reasons for the home care trend. For starters, the pandemic has forced many of us to work from home or only go out for essentials. Seniors are a particularly vulnerable population that is more at risk than the general population of contracting the virus. As a result, many are now staying home almost full-time, even avoiding or minimizing trips to doctor’s offices, which can occasionally result in less severe conditions not being treated, and ultimately becoming more serious. Now, more than ever, when many seniors can’t or won’t leave their homes for medical care, it’s important to bring the healthcare providers to them. It’s essential that the elderly population have access to proactive, routine, preventative, therapeutic, and rehabilitative care in their place of residence.
Home Care Reduces Hospital Visits
Even pre-pandemic, making the trip to a doctor’s office wasn’t easy for many senior citizens. Many seniors struggle with mobility issues. But, now when waiting rooms are unavailable, and a trip outside the home may result in exposure to COVID -19, going to an office is more difficult than ever. Prior to the pandemic, seniors who didn’t go to a doctor’s office, ended up in the ER. Smaller, less urgent or even minor issues ballooned into Emergency Room visits or hospitalization that could have been avoided with proactive, preventative care. This was always a strain on the healthcare system, but during COVID , it’s particularly burdensome. And, seniors rarely get the care they need in an ER.
Some seniors go to local urgent care centers. Unfortunately, this is not ideal for elderly patients. For elderly patients, in particular, it’s preferable to receive care from a doctor who has their medical history on file.
A common situation, even before the pandemic is an elderly patient ending up in the emergency room because he skipped a follow-up appointment with a doctor. Another common scenario: A patient recently discharged from the hospital with a number of medications and complicated instructions needs to be readmitted soon after, because she didn’t follow up with a doctor to confirm she was taking the medications correctly. Situations such as these can be avoided with the right proactive, home-based medical care solution.
These ER visits and hospital stays put burdens and financial strain on the healthcare system, and expose elderly patients to less personalized care, and potentially to further health complications, such as infections.
Additionally, hospitals who readmit a patient under 30 days may be subject to a readmission penalty. When assisted living, nursing homes, or retirement communities send patients to doctor’s offices or the ER, it’s a lot of paperwork and hassle for them, but for a hospital it could mean a penalty. Hospitals are therefore unlikely to refer patients to nursing homes or other healthcare facilities who too frequently send the same patients back to them for care.
Now, during the pandemic when hospitals are already busy treating COVID cases, we all need to do our part to reduce hospital visits. If patients are unable or too fearful to visit the doctor and receive the care they need, then we must bring the providers to their homes.
Nursing homes and Assisted Living Also Benefit from Home Care
A trip to the hospital is not only costly; it can needlessly expose elderly patients to the virus as well as other bacterial infections that are commonly contracted in hospitals. And, during COVID -19, nursing homes are sometimes hesitant to readmit these residents to their facilities. With nursing home occupancy down 15% nationally since the end of 2019, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and all independent living communities should be able to reassure families that they can provide residents with routine, proactive, preventative, and rehabilitative care.
In addition, home care agencies are often ill-equipped to provide medical care for the elderly. Home care agencies can provide their patients with security and peace of mind if they can guarantee a house-call from a physician is only one call or text message away.
Home-based medical care allows for a more pleasant healthcare experience. It makes healthcare more accessible to more people, alleviating pandemic-induced hardships.
Clare Medical of New Jersey provides quality, proactive, comprehensive care to seniors all across New Jersey. Our providers are able to visit you in your private home or assisted living facility.
As part of our proactive care approach, Clare Medical developed and utilizes a diagnostic tool powered by artificial intelligence technology that is able to accurately predict which patients are at a 30-day increased risk of requiring a hospital or emergency room visit. Clinical trials have demonstrated that our proprietary technology reduces hospital admissions by over 50 percent among at-risk, elderly patients.
Clare Medical is Here For You
We at Clare Medical understand the obstacles it can take to get the proper health care you need. We want to make the process as easy and comfortable for you. Our licensed healthcare providers will come to your home or assisted living facility to provide you or your residents with proactive, comprehensive medical care.
Call us today (609) 474-0120 to discuss how we can support you with managing your wellness. Seniors deserve exceptional care during these vulnerable times and we want to make sure that you get the exact care you need to stay safe and healthy.