Home visits are reserved for the following groups of patients where from the perspective of the doctor, remote telephone or video assessment is deemed inadequate for clinical assessment and decision making.
- Terminally ill
- Patients who are severely ill in bed
Home visits should be requested before 11.30am.
Home visit requests are allocated to doctors at this time. The later the request for a visit, the greater the likelihood that the duty doctor will already have work allocated up to and beyond the contractual hours and will not be able to attend on a home visit that day.
All home visit requests will be initially assessed remotely first. This is national guidance. The request may be converted to a video call or be dealt with on the telephone
The following are not valid reasons to perform a home visit
- Transport issues for the patient
- Child care issues for a patient or carer
- Poor mobility
- An unwell child
- Residents of supported living
- Out of area patients
There are a number of reasons why home visiting may be detrimental to patients compared to review at the surgery
- Home visits increase the risk of viral spread to vulnerable patients
- The GP does not have access to the full clinical record which is often critical in making decisions
- It can delay clinical assessment and treatment, as visiting cannot be carried out on an emergency basis, whereas assessing a patient in the surgery can be
- Prescriptions are often delayed. Prescriptions are sent electronically from the surgery so arrive very quickly, providing time for the pharmacist to address.
- Travelling to and from home visits, when clinically not needed, can prejudice the care of patients in the surgery, as the absent doctor will not be able to manage patient care whilst away from the surgery
- Equipment for assessment and treatment by a GP which is portable to a patient’s home is not as effective as the equipment in the surgery
- The environment in a patient’s home is not ideal for clinical examination and assessment
- Committing to all home visits within a short time frame can raise patient expectation beyond what is reasonable for the practice leading to GPs working beyond scheduled hours and impact on personal resilience.
- Approximately three to four patients can be seen at the surgery compared to one home visit.