A personal care facility can provide a carefree lifestyle with 24-hour support for functions of daily living, should you need it.
As an option for couples or individuals with a chronic, non-debilitating medical condition, there are many factors to consider when choosing where to live as you age, including location, services, activities offered and the level of care that you may require. Additionally, an important factor to consider when choosing a personal care facility is if it has a house physician.
A house physician serves as the primary care physician for the personal care facility's residents. Having a house physician on staff can provide many advantages for residents, and their convenience is at the top of the list.
Just like any primary care physician, the house physician makes sure you receive necessary immunizations, tests and evaluations to prevent, detect and treat medical problems at their earliest stages. The difference is, instead of arranging transportation for a doctor's visit, asking a loved one for a ride or paying a transportation fee, the house physician visits you at the facility.
Typically, there is a patient exam room in the facility where the house physician can see patients, but you may opt to have the house physician come directly to your room. This is an option that is especially convenient when you are ill or having difficulty getting around.
A house physician sees a large volume of elderly patients and has expertise with many common conditions. He or she can work closely with your caregivers and family to guide and monitor your care to ensure that you have the best possible outcomes.
Because the physician visits the facility regularly, he or she is familiar with the staff, amenities and programs available to its residents and can make recommendations on any changes you may need to make regarding activity or diet.
Medical staff at the facility can contact the house physician between site visits to serve as "eyes" and "ears" and provide additional communication about your care, needs and progress.
The additional contact can be extremely beneficial when the physician is making adjustments to your medication or monitoring your recovery from an illness.
Shared technology between facility medical staff and the physician improves efficiency with getting test results and managing your medical records.
Staff also can help to fill in information gaps about health-related incidents, significant changes in diet, participation in activities or medications taken.
A house physician is especially beneficial if you are relocating from a distance and need to find a new primary care physician.
He or she can help you to facilitate relationships with any specialists that you may need to see as well.
Additionally, you should check to see if the house physician is an attending physician at an area skilled nursing facility. This connection helps make a smooth transition should you ever require a move to a location that provides a higher level of medical care.
For your convenience and maximum independence, add "house physician" to your list of considerations when searching for options for where to live as you age.
You can find more ideas and options by calling the local Area Agency on Aging at 323-3096. For more information on The Meadows, call Gayle Hummel at 433-4663.
Board certified in family medicine, Yordy is the house physician at The Meadows of Divine Providence, a personal care home just north of Williamsport and owned and operated by Susquehanna Health.