5 Tips for Offering a 5-star In-home Patient Consult

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Home visits enable patients to receive hands-on care with maximum convenience. It’s not just elderly, infirm patients who benefit. There are many people who find it tricky to get to a clinic, including mums with babies or toddlers in tow, work-from-home professionals, and carers (whose own needs are rarely met).

All that means that providing home visits is a great way to reach new patients. Here’s how to make it a 5-star experience for them.

  1. Know why you’re going

Ideally, your booking form should capture enough information to give you a clear idea of what this patient is struggling with and what kind of therapy you may need to provide as a result.

That enables you to judge whether a home visit is appropriate and, if so, what equipment or techniques you’ll need to help this patient.

 

  1. Think about everything you’ll need for therapy

So, what do you need for this visit? It could be a massage table, a few resistance bands, some speech prompts or something else altogether.

Prepare a home-visit kit and make sure it is fully stocked before each visit.

You also want to leave your patient with a clear idea of what to do next. So bring along some patient education resources, some paper to draw exercises on, or email them their care plan as soon as their session finishes.

 

  1. Charge your phone & laptop

You should always have a fully charged phone with you on a home visit. That’s partly for your safety (see below) but also for patient care. Sometime’s a patient is in far worse condition than expected and you may need to call their doctor or get them an ambulance.

Bringing your laptop or tablet enables you to keep accurate, up-to-date clinical records, just as you would in a clinic-based job. To protect patient privacy, make sure it’s password protected and that the screen is not visible to anyone but you. 

 

  1. Assess the risks

You do face a few risks on home visits, unfortunately. Lifting a heavy massage table in and out of your car several times a day risks hurting your back, as does manoeuvring patients with limited mobility.

 

Then there’s the risk of working in a stranger’s home. Most home visits pass uneventfully. But, occasionally, you might run into a difficult situation and your safety may depend on the arrangements you’ve made to protect yourself.

Your safety system might include:

  • Always making the first visit in daylight hours so you can familiarise yourself with the surroundings
  • Ensuring someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back
  • Asking the patient to lock any pets in the laundry so you’re not confronted by a large dog that dislikes strangers, for example
  • Listening on the doorstep for any signs of conflict inside and not entering if so
  • Asking a ‘colleague’ to call you after 10 minutes so you can say a code word if there’s a problem
  • Carrying a duress alarm so you can call help immediately if you need it.
     
  1. Get paid

Once you’ve finished, it’s time to get paid. And remember, for a home visit, you should ensure that your fee covers your travel time, petrol costs and vehicle depreciation.

In a clinic setting, the patient walks past the reception desk on their way out and pays immediately. It shouldn’t be any different for a home visit.

Ideally, you want to take payment there and then. It’s much easier than sending an invoice, waiting for payment and having to chivvy the patient if they don’t pay before the due date.
With a system like Square, you can either login to your online account and take payment or you can bring a portable card reader with you to swipe the patient’s credit card for immediate payment.

Home visits can be a rewarding way to provide care to patients who can’t get to your clinic or simply don’t want to. It’s a window into the patient’s life, helping you see them in their own setting, which may help inform your treatment plan in some cases.

With a bit of preparation, you can ensure your home visits run smoothly and safely.

 

Like to offer home visits?

If you fancy the idea of attracting new patients by providing home visits, then download the Therago app and create a professional profile so patients can find you.


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