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Home visits help older patients recover, take charge of health

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Sometimes it takes more than routine doctor visits to help people get and stay well. Sometimes it takes home visits.

When older adults have more than one chronic condition, or leave the hospital after certain kinds of stays, they may be prime candidates for extra help.

“If we can help be physicians’ eyes and ears, we can help determine if more medical help is needed.”

That’s where Aetna is stepping in, with a new program in five areas of the country. The program sends nurse case managers to visit Medicare Advantage members in their homes. During home visits, the case managers assess how well the members function and make sure they know how to follow their care plans. The nurses also look at access to fresh foods, the care support system or availability of walking paths—the kinds of factors that can influence health and longevity even more than medical care.

“Health care is changing, and personalized support will play a larger role,” says Eileen Yozallinas, a Clinical Health Services manager for Aetna. “People want to stay home as long as possible. If we can help be physicians’ eyes and ears, we can help determine if more medical help is needed. Being in the home also helps us connect individuals with support to reduce stressors or risks before they develop into larger medical issues. Helping those we serve have a safe and healthy environment is what a healthier world looks like.”