Who does the exam? What kinds of tests will you get? And most often asked: Do you need to provide snacks? We explain all this and more.
A UnitedHealthcare® HouseCalls visit isn’t like a regular primary care provider (PCP) appointment. There’s no travel time, no waiting rooms and no being rushed through an exam: You have plenty of time to chat about health concerns and learn how to better manage your conditions. Here’s the 411 on this preventive care service, which is offered free with most Medicare Advantage plans.*
Who’s coming into my house?
All HouseCalls visits are conducted by a licensed nurse practitioner, physician assistant or medical doctor. They’ve all passed a background check, for additional peace of mind.
You can also invite a loved one, caregiver or friend to join you during the visit. You can think of HouseCalls practitioners as part of your care team.
Schedule your free HouseCalls checkup today
To see if your plan includes HouseCalls and to schedule an in-home visit today, click here or call 1-800-934-0280, TTY 711, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET and 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT. The HouseCalls scheduling team may also reach out to members to offer a scheduled appointment.
What kinds of tests will I get?
A health care practitioner will check your height, weight, temperature and blood pressure. They’ll also likely complete these 5 quick and easy screenings:
- Monofilament test. The practitioner will rub a soft nylon fiber, known as a monofilament, over your feet to check for a loss of sensitivity. Diabetes can cause nerve damage that leads to loss of sensation.
- Colon cancer screening. You’ll be left with a special kit to collect a stool sample. Then you’ll send it off to a lab, which will check for trace amounts of blood that can sometimes indicate colon cancer.
- Diabetes screening. The practitioner will draw a small amount of blood from your fingertip and use it to check your blood sugar levels.
- Circulation screening. The practitioner will place a sensor on a finger on each of your hands, as well as on each of your big toes, says Stephony Robinson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, director of clinical operations for HouseCalls. The device helps check blood flow to these areas. Blockages could indicate a form of poor circulation.
- Urine test. You’ll urinate into a cup, and then the practitioner will place a dipstick — a thin, plastic, chemically treated strip — into the sample. This checks for diabetes and kidney disease.
In addition to these screening tests, the HouseCalls practitioner will do several mini assessments to look for signs of depression or memory loss, says Robinson.
They’ll check your home for fall hazards like throw rugs or uneven stairs. And they’ll ask questions to make sure you feel confident in certain daily activities, such as getting dressed or going grocery shopping. All these things can help you stay healthy, safe and in your home for as long as possible.
How should I prepare?
A HouseCalls checkup is designed to be as simple and stress-free as possible. Once your appointment is scheduled, there are a few things you can do to make the process run even more smoothly:
- Have phone numbers for your PCP and specialists handy.
- If you take medications, make sure they’re in their original bottles and are ready to review. Don’t forget over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements, too.
- If you record blood pressure readings, have those results available to review.
- If you have diabetes, have your blood glucose meter handy, as well as blood sugar test results.
- Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on. The practitioner will examine your feet.
- Drink plenty of water. You may have to give a urine sample during the visit, so you’ll want to be well hydrated.
Should I clean my house beforehand or provide food?
No. These are two things you absolutely do not have to do. “We’re there for you as a person, to support you, and we aren’t there to judge your home,” reassures Robinson. “We’ve seen people in all kinds of settings. Our job is to go where you are and to be there for you when you need us.”
You do not have to host in any way — and that includes putting out snacks.
That said, the HouseCalls practitioner may ask to peek inside your fridge and pantry. This quick look can help them better understand what and how you’re eating so that they can better guide you.
“We’ll talk to you to make sure you’re able to get out and buy groceries, go over portion control and plate sizes, and offer suggestions on [healthier] ways to cook,” says Robinson.
How can I keep my PCP in the loop after my visit?
Don’t worry — the HouseCalls practitioner does it for you. After the visit, they’ll send both you and your PCP a summary of your checkup and findings, including lab results. If there are any urgent needs, they’ll let your PCP know right away and recommend referrals to a specialist or programs.
The HouseCalls practitioner will also leave you with a customized list of recommendations for you to bring to your next appointment. A HouseCalls checkup is always fully integrated into your overall care plan.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes. Everyone who completes the annual HouseCalls checkup receives a reward card.** For making the extra effort to take charge of your health, you deserve it.
Ready to take your care to the next level?
*HouseCalls may not be available with all plans or in all areas.
**Reward card eligibility varies by plan type. Please allow 3 to 4 weeks after the completion of your HouseCalls visit for delivery of your reward card.