Carmen Biltgen spends her time as a caretaker for her 93-year-old mother, Lou Jarecki. Diagnosed with dementia and diabetes, Lou meets with a family physician at least twice a year. These trips are often difficult and caused stress for both Lou and Carmen.
One afternoon, after missing an appointment, Carmen called the doctor’s office to apologize and reschedule. The nurse explained that her mother may be a good candidate for the Caring Circle HouseCalls program. Carmen called the HouseCalls team and scheduled her mother for an evaluation.
During the initial visit, a nurse practitioner came to the house to meet with Lou and evaluate her general health and medications. As part of Spectrum Health Lakeland, the HouseCalls care team had access to Lou’s medical records with her primary care doctor and were able to review her past care. Her medication and care could continue seamlessly.
Following the appointment, Lou would also need to have lab work completed. Instead of having to travel to a lab facility, which could become difficult with Lou’s dementia, the lab technician was able to come to her home and draw blood while Lou sat in her recliner.
“The convenience of this program was a gift to both mom and me,” said Carmen. “It was stress free for my mom, not to mention myself.”
Carmen later searched for additional care options and stimulation for her mother. She applied to a program which offers care during the day for people with aging and memory limitations. Prior to being accepted to the program Lou would need to complete x-rays, so Carmen worked with the HouseCalls care team and an x-ray technician arrived at their home with portable equipment.
“It made things so much easier for my mom,” said Carmen. “She didn’t have to worry about where we were going, what was happening or why. Everything happened in the comfort of her own home, in her favorite chair.”
As much as Carmen liked their family physician, who she personally continues to see, having a doctor or care team member available at their home created a more intimate and relaxing experience for her mother. During each visit, Carmen was able to easily discuss her mother’s medication and care. With her increasing dementia, often, Lou was not even aware that it was a formal doctor visit.
“It felt more like having company over than an appointment. My one regret was that I didn’t start Mom with HouseCalls sooner.”
HouseCalls may be an option for those who have serious or chronic conditions and are unable to travel to a physician’s office or clinic for care. Candidates for this program may also include those recently released from the hospital or other inpatient facilities, those with balance or mobility issues, or those who may have behavioral health conditions.
To learn more about the Caring Circle HouseCalls program visit www.caring-circle.org or call (269) 429-7100