Since early April, Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) staff have attended and participated in many conferences and annual meetings, including AGS, AANP, NCNP, SGIM, STFM, and the inaugural IPCC Conference. We met with long-time colleagues, made wonderful connections and learned so much from those who share our passion for home-based primary care (HBPC).
While there was variety in the occupations, employers, and geographies of the people we met, a few clear commonalities emerged.
- We all share the conviction that the challenges of caring for an aging, chronically ill population must be addressed immediately, from provider, payer and legislative perspectives.
- Home-based primary care as a solution to this challenge comes as a surprise to too many. Some found it hard to believe that house calls could offer the kind of technology necessary for diagnosing or treating patients with multiple morbidities. Others had never considered HBPC as a longitudinal model of care, viewing it only from a post-acute perspective.
- Home-based primary care and the people who provide it were generally viewed quite favorably. Most we spoke with said that, if they were not already providing house calls, they would at least consider them as an option for home-limited patients. Those who said they would not consider HBPC were reluctant largely due to financial or safety concerns.
- There is no “typical” HBPC provider. We met practitioners anxious to practice HBPC right out of school. We met others considering a mid-career switch due to a desire to connect more directly with their patients. Some work for large medical systems, some run small programs of just a few practitioners. We met NPs, DOs, MDs, and PAs; their credentials varied, but their desire to care for a vulnerable population was just the same.
- Home-based primary care isn’t taking place only in cozy cottages behind a picket fence. Caring HBPC practitioners see patients in many settings. We met several practitioners who make regular visits to churches and homeless shelters to provide care.
Our hope when we attend a conference is to find ways to share the wonderful story of HBPC and what HCCI is doing to advance the field. But invariably, we do more listening than talking. Listening to the stories of those who make a difference every day for homebound patients and their caregivers, and listening to those who want to learn how they can start or grow their own house call programs.
Whether we listen or whether we talk, at HCCI we’re just happy to be part of a growing national conversation on bringing care home to the patients who need it most, wherever that home might be.