Letters to the Editor

Additional Tips for Physicians Making House Calls



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Am Fam Physician. 2011 Sep 15;84(6):602.

Original Article: House Calls

Issue Date: April 15, 2011

Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0415/p925.html

to the editor: I began general practice in 1957 in a semirural community of 7,000 citizens. The lessons I learned about making house calls in those days are just as relevant to the smart-phone–equipped physicians making house calls today.

It is important to establish good rapport with local law enforcement, so that they can be called on to provide backup for house calls made at night or in areas of uncertain safety. Police should also know what car you drive. I found it reassuring to let them know when and where I was making the house call, and about what time I should return to my home or office. I would then report the time of my return.

In addition to the list of suggested equipment mentioned in the article, I would add a flashlight that can be carried in one hand, placed on a surface near the patient, and stabilized as much as possible. Available lighting often is too poor to notice pallor and icterus. A flashlight is also helpful when climbing up and down dark stairways.

When entering a patient's home, evaluate the surroundings before deciding whether to remove your coat or keep it on. If you decide to remove it, keep it where you can see it.

Although I have retired from practice, I am grateful to the authors for the best article on the subject of house calls that I have encountered.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations to disclose.

Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.

Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.



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