Recently, the importance of home visits and nursing home visits were discussed by Hunters Hill Medical Practice, Medical Director, Dr Charbel Badr who was asked by TWT (The Weekly Times) local newspaper to contribute a piece to the Hunters Hill Guest Column “To The Point”. In light of the recent COVID 19 pandemic and the need to keep the most vulnerable members of our society safe, Dr Badr wrote about the history and need for home and nursing home visits in our area. The text of the article is available below on in the featured image above.
Caring for those who once cared for us
Former US vice president, Hubert Humphrey, talked about the moral test for society / government being how it treats, “those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped”. These reflections are as relevant in the 21st century as they were in the 20th. We now find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen for over 100 years.
How we treat the most vulnerable in our society will come to define us for years to come. In recent years we have too often focused on individual needs, the “what’s in it for me?” and less on our collective well being “we are in this together”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown our elderly, especially those in aged care, to be a particularly vulnerable part of our society. The recent outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne nursing homes have been devastating to residents, their families and health care workers. It is our collective responsibility to provide support in any we can, be it with offering services or simply following public health advice.
My colleagues and I are privileged to continue a medical tradition of community care in Hunters Hill and surrounds, stretching back to 1860. Back then, the general practitioner performed home visits on horse back and his wife hung out a red blanket from the upstairs balcony to inform him to pass by the house to collect new messages!
Times have certainly changed. Now, female and male doctors use the latest of technology to conduct consults from almost anywhere. However, what has not changed is the need for a doctor-patient relationship based on trust and working in the best interest of the patient. Sometimes that means visiting patients where and when they need it; be it at home or in an aged care facility.
During such challenging times we need to offer our elderly and those who are most vulnerable services that meet their needs and enhance their safety. Recently instituted telehealth services go part of the way to addressing this, but, do not replace the need for face to face interaction; be it in rooms or at home.
A decline in home and nursing home visits has occurred in recent years due to a multitude of government and industry missteps. A global pandemic might be an opportunity for us to address services for those most in need.
At Hunters Hill Medical Practice we believe home visits are part of holistic patient-centered care. Each year, our doctors visit hundreds of patients in their home treating anything from simple ailments to complex palliative conditions. We also visit over 10 local aged care facilities, conducting thousands of consults and supporting our nursing colleagues whose work often goes undervalued.
If you are visiting elderly relatives at home or in aged care, please heed public health advice and help keep them safe.
If you have any questions or need to discuss your particular circumstances, please contact us by phone on 02 9817 2080 or use our online inquiry form.