Home Visits

  • Robert L. Perkel


Physician visits to patients’ homes have been an accepted part of American medical practice for generations. The pre-World War II cultural expectation that the family doctor would make a house call was rooted in a strong tradition. Today, the assertion that house calls are a fast-disappearing anachronism of an almost exclusively rural physician and patient population deserves careful and critical scrutiny. The importance of home care has been and continues to be underscored by medical organizations. In 1960, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates recommended that “physicians be urged to participate in organized home-care programs for any patient who can benefit from the program and to promote such programs in their communities.”1 This AMA pronouncement served as a response to the post-World War II era which witnessed a gradual decline in house calls. In the U.S. in 1960, physicians made 68 million home visits (0.35 home visit/person).2


Home Care Home Visit Family Physician Home Health Coronary Care Unit 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

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  • Robert L. Perkel

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