Flu Complications Hit Seniors Hard; House Calls can Help

While every season presents health challenges to seniors, this winter is proving especially difficult. Flu, fever, sinus infections, pneumonia and related complications are hitting hard, fast and often.

Compounding the problem is confusion about what symptoms mean. For example, according to mayoclinic.com, sub-normal temperature as well as fever can accompany pneumonia: “Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems).”

As the American Lung Association notes, “…there are more than 30 different causes of the illness. Older adults, children and people with chronic disease, including COPD and asthma, are at high risk for pneumonia. There are bacterial and viral strains of the disease. No one size fits all.”

How do seniors find out what’s going on? In today’s internet world, many do online research—and generally find conflicting and possibly inaccurate information. News reports can offer ideas and insights. Depending on the seeming severity of the issue, some schedule an appointment with their doctor. Others opt for urgent care, the ER, or waiting it out to see what happens.

The flu, in particular, is devastating seniors

A healthjournalism.org blog post dramatically sums it up: “CNN reported that this year’s flu had hit people in every state except Hawaii (and District of Columbia), with more than 60,000 people affected by early January. For older people, 7 percent of deaths by late December were due to flu and pneumonia, which is how CDC tracks this data. Not surprisingly, older adults are the group most often hospitalized due to the virus and its complications. The Chinook (Washington) Times reports that those over age 65 are dying from flu and pneumonia at a rate nearly six times higher than usual.”

A Tampa Bay Times report reinforces the need to act sooner than later given the seriousness of the flu: “The influenza virus is more widespread and active this year than in recent history, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Florida, influenza-like illnesses such as the flu are being reported at higher levels now than during the peak of the last two flu seasons. And the virus continues to gain steam across the state.”

A house call can help

Medical house calls can be a highly efficient and cost-effective way for seniors to get treatment without waiting for an appointment or traveling to an urgent care center or ER. For example, DispatchHealth diagnoses and treats everything from the flu, norovirus and nosebleeds to joint pain, fall injuries and pneumonia — all from the comfort of home. 

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Seniors with Medicare or commercial insurance generally pay $6-$45 with DispatchHealth—minimizing cost concerns that often are a barrier to getting treatment. (Uninsured seniors pay a flat rate of $275.) And the treatment comes to them instead of having to deal with the hassles of traveling and other obstacles facing the mobility-challenged.

Saving time is another huge benefit of in-home urgent care. Setting an appointment easily and receiving care quickly are two hallmarks of the DispatchHealth model. Initial outreach to make an appointment is done via phone, online or an app. After contact is made, a clinical evaluation is conducted to make sure that a house call is the best course of action.

Once the appointment is confirmed, DispatchHealth’s board-certified medical team shows up at a patient’s door within one to two hours. The team spends an average of 55 minutes with the patient to thoroughly diagnose and treat conditions, and make recommendations as warranted.

All of this adds up to top-notch treatment that fully addresses concerns and provides reliably professional care. So no matter if it’s a common cold, a nasty flu virus or even pneumonia, instead of driving to the clinic, have the clinic drive to you.

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About the Author
DispatchHealth Staff The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.