With the rise in COVID19, hospitals have changed from safe havens from disease to places of transmission themselves. Hospital staff is allocated to COVID19 care units disproportionately and this has reduced the number of staff on call for other afflictions. Given the urgency of the pandemic, this is an understandable, temporary compromise. However, the astonishingly low numbers of people going to the hospital has prevented the staff from being overwhelmed where they are smaller in numbers. This low number of hospital visits is owed to the fear attached behind visiting a hospital during COVID19. Hospitals are an obvious hotspot and people are wary of going unless they have a dire emergency. However, there is an obvious contradiction here. People suffering from dire medical conditions are more vulnerable to the severity of symptoms if they are infected by the virus. Thus, many opt out of hospital visits and rely on house call doctors in Brisbane.
Home visits during the pandemic
Home visits require resources on behalf of the hospitals and the governments, expenses for the patients and efficiency due to limited capacity of transportable medical instruments. Only the most vulnerable people are thus advised to resort to house call doctors in Brisbane.
The Case of UK National Health Services Protocol
The case study of the guidelines put in place by the National Health Services of the United Kingdom can be used as a comparison for other health institutions.
The team: Only special staff who have not been in contact with any COVID19 patients will be allowed to do house calls. If visiting a patient suspected of COVID19, they should preferably be seen at the end of the call day.
The patient selection: It is not feasible to assume that any patient who wants a home call would be provided with one. There has to be a priority list for who should receive a home visit for non-COVID19 related illnesses:
- If the patient has exhausted all other options: calling the doctor or consultation via email
- If a patient is isolating but their condition requires a face to face consultation, home call is advisable.
- If the patient has been in contact with a family member with COVID19 symptoms, then another designated area should be arranged for the house call.
The timing: The patient should be given a time frame instead of a fixed time for flexibility.
The visit: The patient should be contacted prior to ensure the designated area of visit in the house is sanitary and the patient has adequately worn PPE. Area for the doctors and staff to wash hands before and after the visit should also be ensured. The doctors should keep a two meter social distance from other family members. Through teleconferencing, the patient history should be acquired beforehand, thus minimizing the amount of time needed to be spent in the house call.
House Call Doctors in Brisbane for COVID19 Testing
Most countries have rolled out budgets for mass testing of COVID19 testing. These staff and doctors involved in house call visits remain at the front line of the war against the virus. Despite wearing adequate PPE, they are exposed to a host of environments beyond their control. Not all patients compromise with the guidelines in a similar manner, leading to a risk of infection for the doctors.
Many House Call Companies have emerged during the pandemic. Such as DispatchHeath and Heal in the USA who have dedicated teams of people specifically trained in handling house calls during the pandemic. This has lifted the burden from the hospitals a bit. However, being private companies, the services they offer do come at a cost to the patients. Nonetheless, these house call efforts prevent unnecessary ER utilization, which could often lead to in-patient admissions. Many of these new house call companies are also integrating telemedicine services to shorten turnaround time and improve the patient experience.