House Calls

Am Fam Physician. 2020 Aug 15;102(4):211-220.


The demand for house calls is increasing because of the aging U.S. population, an increase in patients who are homebound, and the acknowledgment of the value of house calls by the public and health care industry. Literature from current U.S. home-based primary care programs describes health care cost savings and improved patient outcomes for older adults and other vulnerable populations. Common indications for house calls are management of acute or chronic illnesses, coordination of a post-hospitalization transition of care, health assessments, and end-of-life care. House calls may also include observation of activities of daily living, medication reconciliation, nutrition assessment, evaluation of primary caregiver stress, and the evaluation of patient safety in the home. Physicians can use the INHOMESSS mnemonic (impairments/immobility, nutrition, home environment, other people, medications, examination, safety, spiritual health, services) as a checklist for providing a comprehensive health assessment. This article reviews key considerations for family physicians when preparing for and conducting house calls or leading teams that provide home-based primary care services. House calls, with careful planning and scheduling, can be successfully and efficiently integrated into family medicine practices, including residency programs, direct primary care practices, and concierge medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Checklist*
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Family Practice*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Homebound Persons
  • Hospitalization
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Medicare
  • Patient Safety
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Terminal Care
  • United States