Should You Add “House Calls” to Your List of Services?
It’s the beginning of a new year – and a new decade. One of the most significant demographic factors that will create changes for many industries is the aging of the U.S. population. Today, about 16% of the population is aged 65+. By 2030, that number will rise to 21%, or more than 75 million seniors. And in 2034, the number of 65+ people in the U.S. will exceed the number of children for the first time in its history.
This shift is an important one for healthcare providers. As the population ages, more and more people will be homebound or will have difficulty getting to the dentist office. While we know that oral healthcare is a key part of overall health, especially for older adults, a cleaning appointment that is inconvenient and exhausting may be one they feel is easily postponed or ignored. But if their dentist offers house calls, it may take away those objections.
There are many candidates for house call dental visits:
- Disabled adults or children who have difficulty traveling to the dentist office
- Dentophobics, who may be much more comfortable receiving services in the home
- Adults who would like concierge services that are more convenient
- Those with cognitive impairments who may not respond well in a dental environment
- Seniors living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes
- Patients in the hospital
- Seniors whose family caregivers cannot take them to appointments during the day
The first challenge is finding the right staff to provide these services. One option is to hire a dental hygienist whose job is to provide house calls. If you have multiple dentists in your office, one or more could dedicate some time each week to house calls for those who need more care than a hygienist can provide.
Once you’ve decided you have the right personnel to offer house calls, you need to set up mobile services that are effective, cost-efficient, and safe for both patient and provider. What you need will depend on the type of services you plan to offer. Mobile dentists can successfully perform many in-office services, including extractions, crowns and root canals. Fortunately, DES Dental can work with you to put together your mobile dental service toolkit:
- Portable x-ray
- Lead vests
- High-powered glasses with light source
- Gowns, gloves, and masks
- Sterilized tools
- Containers for used tools to be sterilized back at the office
- Disposable containers to transport medical waste
- Dental drill with light
- Sterile water
As you look forward to the next decade of your dental practice, serving seniors is likely a growing and important part of the picture. If you are thinking about providing mobile services, give us a call to discuss how to add this valuable option for your patients.