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Older Adults: Delaying Routine Care Jeopardizes Your Health

Health Articles |
Categories: Senior Health
Older Man in Mask with Healthcare Worker

Call your medical provider today to find out what is best for you

Your healthcare needs did not disappear because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While a temporary delay may have occurred at the height of the pandemic, it is not advisable for older adults or anyone with a chronic condition to continue to postpone care. A delay in medical attention may make the difference between an early diagnosis with successful treatment—and a more advanced diagnosis with less favorable outcomes.

Skipping or Delaying Care Can Have Serious Consequences

  • Ignoring chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure can worsen the severity of the condition and can lead to other health problems such as heart attack or stroke.
  • Routine bloodwork can reveal early warning signs of almost any disease.
  • Well-checks and screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms can identify diseases before they advance to later stages when it is harder to treat.
  • Every minute matters during emergencies such as heart attack and stroke. Getting treatment quickly can mean the difference between a successful outcome and tragedy.

The Doctor’s Office is Safer than the Grocery Store

According to Jackie Hoffman, RN, BSN, MHA, CCM, Administrative Director of Doylestown Healthcare Partnership, our area medical practices have taken significant steps to make a trip to the doctors’ office safe—even for vulnerable populations such as senior citizens. These precautions make doctors’ offices one of the safest spaces outside of one’s home. These safety measures include:

“Touchless” appointments.

Everything related to the visit, including payment, updating of your health history, and the reason for your visit, is done by phone before the patient steps foot in the office. “All ‘meaningful time’ is now spent directly with the healthcare provider,” explains Jackie.

The car is the new waiting room.

Patients are given a unique contact phone number to call when they arrive in the parking lot to “check-in,” avoiding the usual prompts when calling the office's landline. Patients wait safely in their car until they are escorted into the office by staff.

Locked doors mean limited access.

Only essential staff are permitted in the office, thus reducing potential contamination. The mail carrier, delivery people and other “non-essential” visitors must make other arrangements. All patients and staff undergo a preliminary COVID-19 screening prior to entering.

Staggered appointments.

More time between appointments means patients don’t encounter each other in the office and allows staff the time to properly sanitize exam rooms between patients.

Separate “sick” and “well” visits.

Those with respiratory or other illnesses are seen at a different time than those seeking a well-check. In some instances, sick patients are treated at a different location than those offices accommodating well patients.

Telehealth is Good But Has Limitations

While remote healthcare continues to be invaluable during this pandemic health crisis, there is no substitute for in-person care for many patients, especially seniors. According to Jackie, your healthcare provider is trained to look for signs of potential problems that the patient may not know.

Emphasizing the importance of getting an in-person check-up, especially for seniors, Jackie muses, “a 15-minute office visit is a far better experience than a hospital stay.”

About Doylestown Health

Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 239 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update from Doylestown Health
Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

(Updated 7/29/20) Doylestown Health is coordinating with federal, state and local agencies to prevent the spread of potential COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

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