25% of people with ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are homebound or bedridden. Some of our readers have had success finding doctors who will do house calls, but it is not always easy to find. Here are some ideas:
🌹 Home Doctor Services
Some programs or businesses offer home visits. These programs often accept Medicare or Medicaid and sometimes other insurance.
You may be able to find them by making phone calls or looking online. Here’s a few we found by googling words like: “Home doctor visits” and “homebound” and “doctor” or and the names of different cities and states:
- New York doctors
- New York dental
- New Mexico dental
- Portland Oregon
- Florida, Illionois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
- Northern Virginia
- More Northern Virginia.
- Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio
- San Franciso and LA Dentists (warning: Expensive!)
Telehealth or telemedicine is healthcare available online or over the phone. I do not know a lot about these services and would love to hear from anyone who has used them. Please comment below. Here is a map from the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center. For mental health, you might try contacting public mental health agencies in your area and see if they offer this service. In certain situations, telehealth may be covered by insurance. There are also many websites that offer consultations with doctors for a fee.
🌹 Palliative Care
You can try calling hospice programs and palliative care programs in your area to see if they can arrange anything or if they know of local doctors that offer this service.
🌹 Medicare – Home Health
Medicare home care programs provide home nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and/or personal aides to assist with bathing, eating and dressing. To qualify, you must be have these two things: One: You must be homebound (leaving the house is difficult and infrequent). Two: You must have a medical need for a licensed nurse (for example, if you need injections or you have a wound that needs dressing). Learn more here and find an agency here.
🌹 Medicaid – Visiting Nurses
Medicaid may provide part-time visits from nurse in your home. To qualify you must be on Medicaid, and your doctor must order the service. To find out more, talk to your doctor and contact home care agencies in your area.
🌹 Medicaid – Rehabilitation Therapy
In some states, Medicaid will pay for home visits from a physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist.
🌹 Private Insurance
According tot he Visiting Nurses Association: “In most cases, private insurance covers a portion of home health services for acute (short-term) needs. Patients are typically responsible for making partial payments via co-pays and/or deductibles. Most insurance plans require that your doctor determines a need for medical care in your home and develops a plan of care.”
🌹 Area Agency on Aging
These agencies also serve younger people with disabilities. There are Area Agencies on Aging in every area. Give them a call and ask how to connect to medical home care and other services in your area.
The Veteran’s Administration offers a wide variety of home-based services including telecare, palliative care, primary care at home, and many other services.
🌹 Mental Health
Some mental health waiver programs and home care programs offer mental health support in the home. See the section on mental health on this page to Learn more.
🌹 Home and Community Based Care
For people with severe needs, waiver programs offer home aides that can assist with dressing, eating, bathing and personal care. Some programs also help with cooking, cleaning and shopping. Learn more
Some people have had success finding a doctor by simply calling or writing local doctors until they found one willing to do a home visit.
If you are applying for disability, or if you are already on disability, Social Security will be looking to see that you are having regular doctor visits. If all else fails and you are completely unable to get to a doctor, they may accept this as a reason. It will help if you keep documentation of everywhere you contacted and what the response was to show that you are trying to get medical care, but could not access it. Learn more about explaining why you haven’t been to a doctor.
🌹 Other Services
There are many other programs that offer services for people who are homebound or have difficulty leaving their house: How To Be Homebound
Snowdrop Gets a Home Doctor
I’m completely homebound and all my energy goes towards getting things that I need.
I have had the most luck finding home doctors by just cold-calling or emailing doctors and explaining my situation.
If they say know, I follow up with asking for recommendations. I ask if they have any colleagues who might be able to do a home visit. Many doctors belong to groups and listserves that they can post this on. I’ve also had success trying local schools and professional groups.
My regular doctor now visits my house once a year, and then does follow-up appointments by phone.
Updated Oct 2017. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.