-- It's a Tuesday morning and Dr. Eric DeJonge is headed to work. But unlike most physicians, DeJonge's office is his car and his patients are waiting for him in their homes, not in a large waiting room.
As part of the Medical House Call Program, Dr. Eric DeJonge visits one of his group's 600 patients.
DeJonge, a geriatric specialist
at Washington Hospital Center, runs the hospital's "Medical House Call Program." Sharing duties with program co-founder Dr. George Taler and two other doctors, DeJonge criss-crosses the nation's capital, checking on patients in their homes.
Armed with a black bag and blackberry, DeJonge visits mostly the elderly who either can't get to a hospital or are so ill that moving them would prove life-threatening. He usually sees them once a month to check on their status, to make sure their medications are working, and to let them know he's there for them.
DeJonge says the one-on-one care is invaluable. "We know the patients, their families," he says. "We know when they change medically, what has to happen to prevent them from making an ER visit." Dr. Gupta: Watch more on the return of the house call
Terry Carter's father, Aubrey, has been homebound since he suffered a stroke over 20 years ago. For most of those years, Carter ran back and forth to doctors' offices and the ER, making sure his father got the best medical help. It got to be expensive and time consuming and, as the years progressed, it became increasingly difficult to care for his dad. Carter says it was tough because "I really don't have very much help to take him out."
Now, with DeJonge making regular visits, Carter's father doesn't have to be moved from his home and his health has improved. "He's only been in the hospital twice in the last three years," says Carter. "Before that he was in the hospital every other month."