55+ Active Living Communities:  Why You Should NOT live in a retirement community that doesn’t have a doctor On-Site

For some reason, people 55+ get all offended if you call them seniors.  Well, you are at least on the second half, so if the word “senior” upsets you, we’ll just call you 2nd half.  For starters, if  a 2nd half community has a doctor, they should be equipped to work with older people!  That means special training and knowledge in areas crucial to 2nd half residents.  The doctor knows to spend enough time to explain things and answer questions.  Further, a doctor is obviously a very important part of your annual well-being checkup where a pharmacist also participates in evaluating the interactions and necessity of whatever medications you are taking.

Perhaps as important, an on-site doctor prevents many admissions to the hospital.  Have you ever heard this scenario? “I didn’t think it was serious so I put off calling for an appointment.  By the time I did, they didn’t have any openings until the next day. By that time, I was too sick to drive, had a high fever and was really sick.  I felt I needed to call 911.”

What if that story read:  “I wasn’t feeling well so walked over to the doctor’s office next door.  After taking my temperature and examining me, the doctor decided I had pneumonia.  They gave me a shot and some medication and sent me home to bed. The next morning, the doctor stopped by the house for a quick check and decided things were looking better.  He told me to make sure I was drinking plenty of water and that I needed another day or two of bed rest and the full course of the antibiotics. He said to call him right away if anything changed.”

What’s also beneficial is that the medical team’s entire focus is providing cohesive, quality care.  They not only have their own electronic health record but share this information with the local hospital.  The doctors can also see notes from staff or ancillary providers to gain insight into any medical question.

Not only does an on-site primary-care doctor avoid dangerous admissions to the hospital, but they reduce re-admission rates as well.  The on-site staff works with the hospital discharge planners and there is someone on-site to monitor recuperation. Most services are Medicare-billed.  Family members are free to join the on-site doctor’s practice as well as staff. This keeps everyone healthy and connected to a reliable, convenient medical provider.

Of course, residents are free to choose any doctor they want, but in facilities where a medical office is on-site, as many as 96% of residents use the primary care physician located in the community.

Rincon del Rio has an on-site doctor and staff.  That’s because, not only do our residents benefit, but it’s good business:  https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/guest-columns/3-ways-integrated-care-delivery-benefits-seniors-housing-operators/article/695302/

Before you settle on where to live, ask about medical arrangements on-site.