Looking after your health at home

2019-05-07 06:00
Dr Cameron Bruce

Dr Cameron Bruce

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A Plumstead based company, Chariot Health, is now exclusively dedicated to facilitating access to, and booking home care.

This access could be particularly valuable for vulnerable patients or those requiring geriatric or palliative care, who require treatment from healthcare practitioners (HCP) with different disciplines.

Chariot Health can arrange these home consultation bookings for various types of healthcare professionals, from a doctor to a nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and psychologist.

Started by Dr Cameron Bruce, Chariot Health does not provide healthcare but facilitates access to healthcare in a home-based setting.

Bruce obtained his medical degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he later also lectured fourth-year students in palliative care. After completing community service, he worked at rural hospitals on two Canadian east coast islands where he was frequently required to make house calls.

Returning to Cape Town, he did a two-year diploma in palliative care at UCT. His experiences in Canada and in palliative care led to the realisation that there is an opportunity to facilitate access to healthcare that is based on “house-calls”.

“I began to see that making house calls made good economic sense because of the costs of running a practice. Caring for patients in their own homes also puts the patient at the centre.”

The old practice of the doctor’s home visit has, however, been enhanced through the digital platform facilitated by Chariot Health. This platform uses technology in the form of a smartphone and computer-based communications to provide team-based communication between the multidisciplinary medical professionals involved in a patient’s case, allowing them to share information on the patient, coordinate treatment, and record updates on the patient’s condition. “I just love the fact that our platform facilitates old-fashioned bedside values and the latest communications technology,” says Bruce.

This digital communication assists the healthcare practitioners involved in a case to provide regular feedback to selected family members, or other loved ones, enabling them to be kept informed of developments. According to Bruce, this has been especially helpful with families where one sibling has been entrusted with their parents care and the others are based elsewhere.

According to Bruce, many people are drawing up an Advanced Care Plan (ACP), a document setting out their wishes for the type of medical care they would like to receive, outlining what is important to them and which interventions they may or may not want.

“Patients should be assisted to live the type of life they want. Instead of going to hospital, they could choose to live and be treated at home and be allowed to make choices between things they still want to do in their lives and where and how they should be treated,” says Bruce.

Chariot Health provides the platform to the independent healthcare practitioners to help the patient draw up an ACP in which they set out how and where they wish to be treated. “The idea is to engage with people at an early stage of illness, help them make choices and then deliver on meeting those choices,” explains Dr Bruce. The ACP becomes an integral part of their patient record and acts as a primary guide for their carers.

“Chariot Health’s aim is to create a seamless information and communication portal between all players who are or could become involved with a patient, extending from his or her bedside and caregivers right through to emergency services and hospitals,” says Bruce.

Medical Scheme Support for Home Visits

The trend towards home visits has already been recognised by some medical schemes, and a significant number of patients choose to be cared for at home or in a hospice.

“I understand that medical schemes are considering introducing increased cover for home visits, and it seems there will be a significant increase in home care in the future,” he says.

“In the rapidly changing area of geriatric care and palliative medicine we are striving to be at the forefront of facilitating this change, providing patients with access to healthcare professions who render care to vulnerable individuals, both at home and in care facilities should they require it,” concluded Bruce.

V To find out more call 0860 22 66 22 or email info@chariothealth.co.za

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