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Celebrating 20 Years Of House Calls

This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the EGL House Call Program, and with it a tradition of delivering high-quality clinical care to some of the most vulnerable elderly members of our  community. In addition to bringing the medical team to the patient’s doorstep, the EGL House Call Program also conducts follow-up consultations and connects patients with much-needed social support services.

The EGL House Call Program was founded in 1997 in the Division of Geriatrics by Dr. Veronica LoFaso, Roland Balay Clinical Scholar, under the leadership of Division co- chief Dr. Mark Lachs, Irene and Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Medicine. The program recently expanded its services through a transformative gift from the EGL Charitable Foundation. Last year we provided 544 homes visits to 115 patients. As Dr. Lachs notes, “Home visits are time-intensive and costly, and we are grateful to friends and supporters of the EGL House Call Program, whose donations and endowments make-up for  the little we receive providing such critical services to our  community’s most vulnerable members.”

Dr. Karin Ouchida, Joachim Silbermann Family Clinical Scholar in Geriatrics, Dr. Emily Finkelstein and Megan Lam, NP make up  the core members of the EGL House Call team. Dr. Ouchida became Medical Director of the program in 2011, and her specialty area is ensuring that patients have a safe transition home following a hospitalization or rehabilitation stay. Dr. Finkelstein joined the House Call team in 2008, and has focused her educational and scholarly work on better addressing the psychosocial needs of caregivers of older adults. Megan Lam, NP, joined the Division in the Fall of 2016 and brings her training in geriatrics and palliative care to the program, along with experience in home care, long-term care and hospice.

Medical trainees at all stages of their education participate in the House Call Program, and it is a memorable and unique educational opportunity. Weill Cornell medical students, internal medicine residents, geriatric medicine fellows and geriatric psychiatry fellows leave the classroom and hospital and enter into a patient’s home where they can see firsthand the effects of health and illness on physical, social, emotional and cognitive function and vice versa.

The EGL House Call patients typically welcome our  doctors-in-training and enjoy the opportunity to interact with and teach the next generation. Says 2016–2017 geriatric medicine fellow Daniela Silva, “House calls has absolutely been one of my  favorite parts of fellowship. Having the opportunity to visit patients in their homes has been an invaluable learning experience... By examining patients in their own  environment we are able to tailor care, make specific recommendations and make it easier for  both patients and caregivers to understand instructions properly. I feel when we come into their homes we connect with patients and their families on a different level. We are invited to an extremely personal space and this creates a very special physician-patient bond.”

Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medicine New York, NY