Home visiting doctors treat all kinds of patients, with all kinds of injuries and illnesses. It may be after work, or late at night, or on the weekend. Any time, in fact, that Family Practice is unavailable, and you need to see a doctor
But after hours medical care should not be seen as a replacement for your regular Family Practitioner. Many patients don’t realize the importance of having a regular doctor whom they see over a number of years, sometimes even a lifetime.
Here are just a few of the reasons why it is so important to have your own family docotr:
SOMEONE WHO KNOWS YOU
Having a regular doctor means he or she can get to know you. Developing a relationship with a doctor will make you feel more comfortable and allow more open communication. The relationship builds mutual knowledge, understanding and trust.
Having a regular doctor will mean that you won’t have to repeat information about the medications you take, or your previous medical history, as your family doctor will always have this important information in your medical notes.
YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR IS A GENERALIST
One of the powerful qualities of family doctor is that they are generalists. This means they do not focus on just one part of the body or certain diseases only. They are not specialists, such as a paediatrician, who only treats children. A family doctor, with a wide array of knowledge, is well positioned to help you with the many physical and mental symptoms that can arise. Issues with one system of your body can impact on the rest of your body. An example is chronic lower back pain, where patients may present to their doctor with depression.
ADVICE ON PREVENTATIVE HEALTH
Health is not just about treating and curing illness. It is also about taking sensible, preventative measures to ensure you can live your life in the best of health. Family doctors are involved in many preventative activities throughout a person’s life, such as:
- advice on all types of immunizations to prevent diseases
- advice on how to prevent or detect early cancers such as PAP smears and breast checks
- advice on how to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease such as advice on how to give up smoking, lower your cholesterol, regular BP checks, how to maintain a healthy weight range.
- how to prevent diabetes and early detection of diabetes
- prevention of osteoporosis
Your family doctor is best placed to advise you what preventative activities are available for your stage of life.
CONTINUING AND COORDINATED CARE
Your family doctor is the main person responsible for coordinating your care if your condition requires the involvement of other health professionals. This could be a referral to a medical specialist, or allied health professionals such as a psychologist or podiatrist. Other health carers acknowledge this important role of your family doctor and therefore communicate details of any consultations with you to your doctor. By doing this, your doctor can take responsibility for your continuity of care. In the case of after hours consultations, National Home Doctor encourages patients to provide the visiting doctor detailed patient report directly to their family doctor.
MANAGEMENT OF CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Family doctors are best placed to manage chronic medical conditions such as Diabetes, Asthma and Arthritis, just to name a few. Family doctors can also complete a Care Plan for many chronic conditions. This has been shown to significantly improve outcomes for patients. The Care Plan approach involves you more in the ongoing care of your condition. It also allows a team-based approach to your care by involving other health professionals such as physiotherapists, podiatrists, and dieticians.
Your family doctor will have detailed knowledge of what services are available in your local area to support you when needed. This is important for many conditions, but particularly so for people who suffer from mental health issues where counselling services are crucial.
Your family doctor should be your first port of call for all your health care issues. Only call NHDS when you can’t wait to see your own family doctor.