As Family Physicians, we are trained to see patients of all ages, from newborns to seniors. Currently, our youngest patient is two weeks old, our oldest patient is 100 and this is part of what makes our job so exciting! At Direct Doctors, we pride ourselves on being able to provide full scope primary care services to all of our patients, and especially to our elderly population. This means that we can often decrease the amount of specialists that patients have to see because we have time to spend with them, and therefore can better organize and coordinate their care. From blood pressure issues to thyroid problems to musculoskeletal issues and beyond, we can assist patients with most medical issues that will arise throughout the year without having them see other practitioners. We also do many procedures for folks who need them (joint injections, skin biopsies, pap smears, vaccines, etc) at no extra cost, other than the monthly fee.
Like all of our patients, our elderly folks (and their caregivers in those cases) get direct access to their physician at all times, longer visits and more personalized care. While we’d prefer to focus on lifestyle changes, diet and exercise, we realize that some of our older patients are already dealing with multiple chronic diseases and are using multiple medications. For these folks, we have time to evaluate, discuss medication interactions, reduce medication burden as much as possible and dispense medications ourselves which sometimes saves patients a huge chunk of money every month. We also work closely with complimentary services like physical therapists, psychologists and nutritionists to make sure our patients have the perfect health care team working closely with them for the best outcomes.
One of the best services we offer for our elderly population are home visits. While we will occasionally see any of our patients at home when they need it, we have a segment of our patient panel (mostly elderly) that are “homebound.” This means that all of their visits take place in the home. This is especially helpful for those patients with mobility issues where getting out of the house to see a doctor is quite an ordeal! Like traditional doctors, we can work with home care agencies to order and coordinate with home nursing care, physical therapy, home health aides, etc. However, unlike traditional doctors, we do our visits in the home as well. For some patients, this may be the difference between staying in the homes they’ve lived in for decades surrounded by family and having to move to an assisted living or nursing facility (which are quite expensive). Though the monthly fee for our services is higher than those that come to the office (and depends on geographical location), it is a tiny percentage of what patients have to pay for around the clock care at a facility. And like all of our patients, the monthly fee covers all phone calls, texts, emails, in person visits, procedures, etc so families have the peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are well cared for.
If you or a family member are interested, we’d love to discuss how we can help the members of Rhode Island’s elderly community get comprehensive, efficient, patient focused primary care at an affordable price that works best for them!
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.