Summer 2003
Healthcare for Housebound Elders

When you were a kid, your father used to love taking you fishing and hiking and camping-anything outdoorsy. But now, at age 78, he is housebound, often irritable, and unwilling to go outside for any reason. In the early stages of dementia, he also has a number of other ailments and disabilities that require frequent medical attention.

Beata Skudlarska, MD, chief of Geriatrics

Though he has regular care from home health aides and visiting nurses, he does need to see his physician every so often. The problem is, he's too fragile, physically and mentally, to be gotten out of bed, driven to the doctors' offices, taken from one room to the next, and generally kept on the move for an hour or two each time he has an appointment.

What are you going to do?

"Call Bridgeport Hospital's Home Visit Program to see if your father qualifies to become a patient of the Home Visit Group" suggests Beata Skudlarska, MD, chief of Geriatrics at Bridgeport Hospital.

Who qualifies? Patients who:

are 55 or older, AND
have healthcare insurance (Medicare or private) that will cover the cost of the program, or who pay out of pocket, AND
are truly housebound and, for physical or mental health reasons, are absolutely not able get to their doctor's office.

If your father meets all three of those qualifications, the Home Visit Group can become his primary care provider. The Home Visit Group includes Dr. Skudlarska and Christine Tocchi, MSN (Master of Science, Nursing), C-GNP (Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner). You will need to notify your father's present primary care doctor about the changeover to the Home Visit Group. Most physicians will be glad to help you make this change for your father's benefit.

The services the Home Visit Group will provide for your father, in his home, include a complete review of his records and medical history, plus a comprehensive physical/mental/emotional examination and subsequent follow-up visits. Home visits will alternate between the physician and the nurse practitioner, so your father will get to know both healthcare providers.

"The Home Visit Group operates in close cooperation with United Visiting Nurse Association and other area visiting nurse associations to provide a broad range of in-home services," explains Dr. Skudlarska.

For more information about the Home Visit Program, call 888-357-2396.

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