How many times have you heard this scenario?
“My husband woke up and didn’t feel well. I asked him to call his doctor to make an appointment. He said he wanted to give it a day. The next day it wasn’t any better, but he put off calling the doctor until he really felt worse in the evening. By Wednesday he had to be admitted to the hospital.”
The On-Site Alternative
What would have happened if the doctor’s office was a simple two-minute ride on the golf cart? Even if the doctor on-site isn’t your primary physician, she is glad to see you. The on-site medical office makes regular appointments, but leaves 8:30 – 9:30 each morning available for walk-ins.
The doctor is affiliated with the local hospitals and there is a small facility adjoining the medical offices where you can have lab work completed.
With local hospital/physician affiliations, the residents are provided cohesive, quality care, because the doctors on- and off-site have access to each other’s notes, as well as specialists’ findings and notations from staff and additional ancillary providers.
If a senior living community employee notices a resident having trouble with something, it’s easy to say, “Maybe you should think about having a quick evaluation from the on-site clinic”.
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.
Of course, everyone is legally free and encouraged to choose the doctor of their liking, but some communities report 96% of their residents using the on-site physicians.
It might sound too good to be true, but this is the reality of having an on-site doctor at your chosen senior living community.
How On-Site Doctors Benefit Residents of Active Adult Communities and Senior Living
Of all the amenities and benefits that come with a well thought-out active adult community, on-site medical facilities might not be the most fun (seed-spittin’ contests are hard to beat for fun) . . . or even the most life-saving (exercise and nutrition probably still win out there) . . . but the convenience and efficacy of on-site care is just one more example of Successful Aging and Abundant Living. (That’s our motto here at Rincon del Rio, and a good theme for senior life in general, we think.)
The advantages for residents are really overwhelming. Having an available on-site doctor greatly reduces the chances of re-admits to the hospital as well as making sure gains during a rehab stay are maintained.
And while the on-site doctor mostly treats patients in independent living, if your needs change and you end up spending some time in assisted living, your familiar on-site doctor is able to follow your care seamlessly in your new surroundings.
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.
The benefits, then, include continuity as well as easy accessibility and dedicated time to the community residents and staff.
House Calls and Prescriptions
House calls are available if you’ve just been released from the hospital, are in rehab, or have something really debilitating like the flu. Prescriptions are filled off-site, but the daily errand runner is glad to pick up whatever it is you need to feel well and comfortable.
There is no “silver bullet” to guarantee abundant living and successful aging—it’s more like “silver buckshot.” To that end, many on-site practices (including ours) will also host monthly “coffee klatch” sessions for residents on various health topics.
Sometimes an informal, low-pressure situation is just the inspiration residents need to ramp up their exercise and nutrition efforts. (With all the hiking trails and farm-fresh foods prepared perfectly, there are easy, fun, and delicious solutions at our own Rincon del Rio.)
Rincon del Rio will have an on-site doctor and staff. That’s because, not only do our residents benefit, but it’s good business.
Before you settle on what retirement community to live in, ask about medical arrangements on-site.