As a nurse practitioner with UnitedHealthcare HouseCalls, Colleen Nolan gets to know the members she meets on a personal level. By visiting them in their homes, she’s able to see them in their own environment — and help identify when something’s not right. During a recent visit with a member, Sue, she sensed there was a problem almost right away.
“I had been seeing Sue for a few years before that,” Colleen said. “But I noticed there actually was something different about Sue that day.”
Sue mentioned she was having bad pain on the back of her calf — to the point where she couldn’t walk. Colleen performed a pain assessment and used a screening tool to measure blood flow to Sue’s legs and feet.
“She did that test,” Sue said, “and it was like, I never saw anybody get on a phone so fast.”
Sue was experiencing poor circulation in her leg that, if left untreated, could have resulted in serious complications.
“At the very least, I could’ve lost my leg,” Sue said. “And had it gotten bad enough, I could’ve lost my life.”
Thankfully, Colleen helped ensure Sue received prompt treatment, which helped her make a full recovery.
The HouseCalls program provides most UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Medicaid members the opportunity to have licensed medical staff come to their home for wellness check-ups, health screenings, pain assessments and to help answer any health questions they may have. UnitedHealthcare has now provided more than 10 million HouseCalls visits.
Besides the usual needs for regular preventive care, HouseCalls visits are especially crucial as some older adults may have put off necessary care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, due to concerns about COVID-19, an estimated 41% of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care in 2020, including urgent or emergency care (12%) and routine care (32%).
HouseCalls licensed medical staff, like Colleen, can also help evaluate members' home and environment for potential risks or other social and behavioral needs that may impact one’s health.
That person-to-person connection and rapport helps create a friendly environment where getting care can become that much easier and convenient — helping to keep people healthy.
“Healthy means independence,” Sue said. “Taking a walk is such a simple thing. I’m still independent because of Colleen.”
HouseCalls may not be available with all plans or in all areas.