About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
What is the top challenge facing in-home care in your city, and what is your proposed solution?
Essay response by Promise Walker
With the increasing number of senior citizens, the health care system has faced challenges in providing expedient and quality care to citizens living at home. Living in a smaller community and volunteering with the local hospital I have had the opportunity to watch senior citizens receive care first hand: from what I have seen, the elderly have had to be dropped off hours before their appointments as a result of the transportation services’ schedules. Not only do these men and women wait lengthy amounts of time before their appointments, but also making an appointment with their preferred doctors is difficult and extremely untimely.
In earlier times physicians would be house doctors and would travel between homes because hospitals may not have been established or were difficult to travel to, but presently I have no knowledge of any doctor who still makes house calls. In relation to seniors receiving in-home care, traveling doctors would be extremely beneficial as they replace scheduling and traveling expenditures with a simple phone call and a short drive for the doctor.
Especially in a smaller community, many children move away to more urban areas and away from their aging parents, and these parents may be left alone or with an in-home care nurse who cares for multiple patients. Being left alone some or most of the time gives the elderly some freedom, but with age comes a slight stubbornness, and they may wait more time between doctors visits than they should. A traveling doctor will provide these seniors access to in-home care both on a regular basis and in emergency situations. Less stress over traveling and scheduling arrangements will also act as a form of risk management as the senior citizens will be less focused on the inconveniences of attaining health care, and instead be more conscious of their well being and regard health care as a convenient necessity and not a necessary evil.
Admittedly, travel may be somewhat inconvenient for a busy physician, but I believe hospitals could easily provide incentives such as a company vehicle for travel and reimbursement for fuel expenses. These doctors would be general practitioners making the daily house calls, but other specialists should also be given these incentives should an emergency arise.
This solution addresses the general health of seniors such as regular check ups, some wound care, and some examinations; however, this plan does not address serious injuries that require intensive care such as overdoses, car accidents, etc. No the implemented plan, the elderly may still need to travel to the hospitals, but having doctors who make house calls will increase the health of citizens receiving the home care.
As ‘old fashioned’ as it may seem, house calling doctors will provide an increased convenience for the elderly, not only in rural communities, but cities as well. In-home care doctors will provide the expedient care aging citizens need and will likely decrease major injuries by encouraging consistent doctor visits and promoting a more convenient health system for the aging Americans.
Promise’s goals for college are to major in Pre-Medicine, attain a Medical Degree and practice medicine in rural communities in New Mexico.