What Concierge Medicine Means to Caregivers Managing Chronic Conditions for Loved Ones
Concierge medicine. Boutique doctors. Retainer-based care. These are among the terms used to describe this emerging approach to health care that seeks to eliminate the frustrations today's consumers are tired of: crowded waiting rooms, rushed visits, doctors who don't truly listen.
But this type of care comes with a high price: according to this 2013 AARP piece, patients pay an out-of-pocket fee that typically ranges from several hundred dollars to $15,000 annually.
Consumers aren't the only ones gravitating to this trending philosophy. Doctors are also fed up with the limits of the system and seeking a better way in the form of concierge medicine.
While there are pros and cons to this type of care, one of the clear benefits of concierge medicine applies to patients living with a number of chronic conditions -- including incontinence -- which often requires their primary caregivers to serve as care coordinator, despite having little to no medical knowledge or expertise.
Many adult children caregivers are pushed into this "quarterback" role of coordinator with little preparation or understanding of navigating the health care system with a chronic care patient. A rushed visit or a doctor who is familiar with the patient's history can lead to frustrating, unnecessary, and even harmful outcomes for the older loved one in need of coordinated care -- and the caregiver caught in the middle.
Time will tell if this boutique model of health care is here to stay, though in states like Florida, with a high population of older adults, it's certainly gaining ground.
YOUR TURN: Have you used a concierge doctor? What were the pros & cons?