Despite the NHS scrapping GP home visits, private GP services around the country continue to offer home GP visits. The idea of home visits is incredibly valuable to many people across the UK - let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
The benefits for immobile patients
GP home visits are hugely important for the frail elderly, who might not have the mobility to visit their GP in person or someone to drive them to the surgery. For elderly people who live alone, having a GP visit them at home can also provide emotional support, improving their mental wellbeing when they’re physically unwell.
At some stage or another, age aside, we are simply too ill to make a visit to our GP in person. In a lot of cases, GP home visits are both the fastest and most effective way to getting the treatment we all need and deserve.
Call outs to wherever you are
Private GP home visits also encompass the concept of having a GP come to wherever you are, whether it be a hotel, your place of work or a friend or relative’s home.
This is especially practical when you don’t feel you are not in need of either 111 or 999 and takes the stress away from the thought of making your way to the practice, which could render you susceptible to feeling worse.
Learning about a patient
If a patient has a regular GP treating them, visiting their home allows for an insight into lifestyle indicators which could help inform a diagnosis. For example, GPs may be alerted to cigarettes, alcohol bottles, certain foods and living conditions that would not come to their attention in the confines of the surgery. For patients with the early onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, having a clear picture of their home life can be extremely beneficial, as they may not be able to recall notable lifestyle factors to mention to their GP at the surgery.
Home visits mean GPs can deduce things for themselves. Many patients also feel anxious and even ashamed about admitting home life habits that are deemed unhealthy. With this in mind, it’s incredibly important to remember that your GP is never there to judge you and only wishes the best for your welfare.
Home visits minimise contagion
Patients who are contagious and visit the GP pose a risk of passing on their illness to other patients. Home visits minimise this risk. Making the effort to come in and see your GP (especially if you have to walk or drive yourself) can also exacerbate your condition and make you even iller.
Home visits are an important part of any healthcare system and patients shouldn’t have to put themselves in the vulnerable situation of visiting in person when they are physically or mentally not in a fit state to do so. Remember to listen to your body when you’re unwell and take the course of action that feels right for your health.