Historically it used to be routine- the doctor came to his patients as often as the other way around before hospitals. It was a staple on TV well into the 1970s (All in the Family, Sanford & Son and The Brady Bunch are '70s shows that I can think of offhand with house call episodes). I grew up in the country where there were some vets who would make house calls (not all of them licensed- some were just men and women [usually old] who knew a lot about animals and could give shots or birth problematic calves and the like) but there were no doctors who did, and I’m not familiar with it in the city at the time either (which is not to say it didn’t happen).
In Michael Moore’s SICKO he showed a French couple getting a house call from their doctor. No idea if this is common or not; the same movie would have you believe all Cubans get first rate healthcare personally supervised by Dr. Che Guevara’s daughter.
Do any doctors still make house calls in the U.S.? What about other countries? Does anybody here remember them making house calls in a past time?
I’ve heard of a few cases in the relative small, but highly populated, city I live in where doctors made house calls. However, it was more like someone was on their death bed or highly immobile. Not like anything I’ve seen on old tv shows. I like in the US.
I’m 52, and when I was a kid, our pediatrician routinely made house calls.
I have a friend who had a preemie back in December. Her baby just got released to go home from the NICU, and she said her baby’s doctor will be making house calls so she won’t have to risk exposing the baby to all the waiting room pathogens.
When I was 6, and living in what was then Communist-occupied East Germany, (a small town called Zeitz, to be specific) a Russian Army doctor came to our small apartment and took care of me when I had measles.
He was one of my aunts’ boyfriends, which is why I think we were fortunate to have him treat me, but that was the only time I remember a house call.
Our family doctor made house calls in the late 50’s/early 60’s. The parameters were being sick enough to need professional care, too sick to travel easily for an office visit, but not so sick that hospital and/or ER facilities were required.
My clinic (a community health center and family medicine teaching clinic in the sticks of Eastern KY) does home visits. A doctor, a nurse, and usually a medical student go out and see patients in their homes a couple of times a month.
It’s for patients who are bedbound or have a hard time getting out of the house. We actually don’t have a lot of people ask us for it, even though we make it known. We certainly don’t make any money doing it; the Medicare reimbursement for a home visit is more than an office visit, but not by much, and they’re lucky if they can do four in an afternoon. (I haven’t done the home visits myself–I have too many irons in the fire as it is.)
There is another clinic in town with a home visit program, but I believe it’s a nurse practitioner that does those.
My mother-in-law had a doctor that made housecalls as recently as a year ago. This was in the Indianapolis area, and was arranged by the home-care service she had providing sitters for her. My understanding was this was an agency that specialized in house-call doctors for very elderly people who were unable to leave their homes.
It was a good service, but eventually we needed to move her into a nursing home due to her dementia, poor mobility, and financial issues. So these services are out there.
I know one MD and one nurse practioner who make house calls, but only for patients who otherwise would have to be transported via ambulance to the doctor’s office. The VA also has doctors that make house calls, again to those for whom an office visit would be well-nigh impossible.
I am only 37 and I did but it was special circumstances. It was a small Southern town and the doctor was a next door neighbor and his family was best friends with mine. He was the only doctor for miles around so he had to respond to special cases sometimes. He had a regular clinic on main street but also an exam room built into his home so that a house call sometimes meant people showing up at his door for emergencies rather than the other way around.
My doctor made a house call to see a close friend of mine with a nearly out of control strep infection. The friend had no insurance and had not sought care due to the expense. The house call prevented some much worse complications. This happened in the late nineties in Michigan!