Kristy Naylor & Marcy Kleinjan
Aug 17, 2022
An explanation of sorts.
Being approached to write a health column was both exciting and a little daunting. Bringing back memories of writing research papers and care plans from nursing school days, which can set the butterflies in our bellies fluttering in an instant. With nearly 40 years of combined experience in nursing, as well as a genuine love of teaching people how to better care for themselves, and experience working in homes across the valley, our focus this month is concierge nursing and medicine and advocacy. If we go back a generation or two we bet you all remember doctors and nurses making house calls. Our discussion today is kind of like that, getting back to our roots.
So what exactly is concierge nursing? “It is a type of nursing care in which a registered nurse provides discreet personalized nursing care in a variety of private settings such as homes, hotels, vacation rentals. The types of services that may be delivered are only limited by the RN's license and scope of practice.” (glaciernursedirect.org) Concierge nursing takes the concept of home care, combines it with highly customized nursing services and adds in unparalleled compassionate personalized attention and time spent directly with patients. Care is billed as a fee for service instead of utilizing insurance. The benefit being flexibility to customize your nursing care based on YOUR needs, not what your healthcare coverage limits you to. As a result, you are provided with one-on-one high quality nursing care for whatever length of time you may need assistance. Examples include: case management and care planning (i.e. helping navigate multiple providers for those with chronic illness or a new diagnosis such as cancer), patient advocacy (assistance with provider communication, planning and scheduling of medical appointments, patient education to understand the ‘medical jargon’ and avoid serious complications); post-operative care following surgery, pharmacy pick up and deliveries/med box fills, & respite caregiver relief.
Concierge medicine and direct primary care are similar in concept and there are a number of providers here in the Flathead. Google “direct primary care near me” and you will see multiple options pop up in your search. The idea being paying a monthly or yearly fee that is very affordable vs traditional health plans. You have access to your provider for same or next day appointments, management of your overall health and puts the focus back on the doctor-patient relationship allowing providers to spend more time with their patients. And yes, making the occasional home visit when needed or indicated. The benefits again being care that is focused on your needs and not what an insurance company allows or requires. At glacierdpc.com, Dr. Lexi Tabor-Manaker shares that “DPC allows a provider to be their own boss by decreasing time wasted on regulated documentation, coding and billing. In turn doing what she does best - taking more time for you and your health care concerns.” And at fountainheadmed.com information states “At Fountainhead Family Med we have eliminated the insurance company from the primary care patient/doctor relationship. Dr. Bergland will work for you, not for your insurance company.” Intriguing right?
It is at times difficult to advocate on your own behalf, especially when you’re ill. Having a patient advocate with you will decrease the likelihood of communication errors and medication errors. As nurses, one of the repeating themes we see & hear is that folks feel rushed and unheard when visiting their providers. When you have an upcoming medical appointment it is helpful to write down in advance questions you want to discuss. Ask yourself: “What is my main concern and what questions do I have now?” When able, take someone with you to your appointment. Patients who have someone with them at bedside will have better outcomes, it’s just proven.
In closing for this month our goal is for you to have learned a few things about thinking outside the traditional healthcare box and advocating for yourself. You owe it to your health to explore the different alternatives that are available. Especially in the current climate of so many being uninsured or underinsured due to broken and malfunctioning systems. We look forward to exploring your health and continued well being in the months to come.