There are many people who simply cannot attend a podiatry clinic to get footcare treatment. There are many reasons for this:
- Too infirm or un-well with poor mobility
- Recent operation
- Nobody to bring them to clinic
- Poor transport links
- Don’t like to leave the ‘safety’ of their home
The most common reason is poor mobility and compromised health. At Compleet Feet we do offer a home-visiting service for these patients. Often it is for existing patients who for reasons outlined above cannot attend anymore. For many people this is a shame as they enjoy their visits to our clinic, and it gets them out from the confines of their homes, to stretch out their legs and socially interact. We never like to lose a valued patient; hence we offer them the opportunity for us to come to them.
I always feel it’s an honour to be invited into a patient’s home. It forges another level to the relationship already established, a more intimate one and one of trust. I love seeing their treasured nick-knacks, pictures and pets! It defines them a little bit more and makes them special. Sadly, I can never stay for tea and biscuits, as the next patient is waiting.
One of the downsides of home-visiting is timing. I always add an ‘ish’ to appointment times to give me the flexibility to travel from place to place. There are the odd cases whereby postcodes do not come up on my trusty satnav, and I end up in the back of beyond! I have visited some very unusual locations. There also have been the problems on not being able to get into certain nursing, residential homes. Can’t find the button, don’t have the correct flat no: or patient doesn’t reply. This is then when I worry; “Are they okay?”. I cannot settle until I know they are. Oh, I forgot about the rain. I can arrive like a soogy cat that has just dived through the cat flap. Hopefully not a too disconcerting look?
Another problem I occasionally get is trying to set-up a working clinical space. Rooms can be too dark, no chair for me to sit on, but I can always work around this. Us podiatrists have to be flexible in our working practices in more ways than one! I used to work for the MOD, who when on the battle field adapt to any situation. I always keep those thoughts in my mind. Doing home-visits is good in getting us pods out of clinic, even though it’s a shame it’s the reverse for our patients, but hopefully our visits brighten up their days or though sadly for some I am just one of many healthcare visitors throughout the day.
One day I will tell you about when I used to do NHS domicilliary care for Lincolnshire NHS Podiatry Service in the 90’s. That hardened me up!