Home Visits

In exceptional circumstances arrangements can be made for a doctor to visit. Please note this is only available for the very ill housebound palliative care patients.

Visiting Guidelines

Request for medical care made by patient (usually by telephone) to General Practitioner or other person trained in triage and backed by appropriate protocols

Clarification And Examples Of Visiting Guidelines In Action

1. Situation where GP home visiting makes clinical sense and provides the best way to give a medical opinion and initiate treatment:

a.  The terminally ill
b.  The truly bedbound patient in whom travel to premises by car would cause a deterioration in medical condition or unacceptable discomfort 

2.  Situations where on occasions visiting may be useful:

a. Where, after initial assessment over the telephone, a seriously ill patient may be helped by a GPs attendance to prepare them for travel to hospital. That is where a GPs other commitments do not prevent him/her from arriving prior to the ambulance.

It must be understood that if a GP is about to embark on a booked surgery of 25 patients and is informed that one of his/her patients is suffering from symptoms suggestive of a serious condition the sensible approach may well be an emergency paramedical ambulance rather than attending personally.

b. Dependent travellers.  Patients who when well are able to be transported by relatives but are less able when ill.

c. Annual reviews of patients in nursing homes. 

3.  Situations where visiting is not usually required:

a.  Common symptoms of childhood, fevers, cold, cough, earache, headache, diarrhoea/vomiting and most cases of abdominal pain. These patients are almost always well enough to travel by car. The old wives tale that it is unwise to take a child out with a fever is blatantly untrue. It may well be that these children are not indeed fit to travel by bus, or walk, but car transport is sensible and always available from friends, relatives or taxi firms.

It is not a doctor’s job to arrange such transport.

b.  Adults with common problems of cough, sore throat, "flu", back pain, abdominal pain are also readily transportable by car to a doctors premises.

c.  Common problems in the elderly, such as poor mobility, joint pain, general malaise would also be best treated by consultation at a doctors premises. The exception to this would be in the truly bed bound patient.

4. Visits to Children in situations where the parent refuses to attend the GP surgery or Out of Hours centre.  The safety of the child is paramount in these situations where the parent is not fulfilling their responsibility in making arrangements for travel.  Many GPs will visit the ill child first and discuss with the parent later.

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