General physicians (GPs), also known as primary care doctors or family doctors, are crucial for providing all-round healthcare to elderly patients. Even though specialists have in-depth knowledge and competence in particular fields of medicine, there are some circumstances in which a general physician may be more appropriate than a specialist.
Given that only about 50% of Samarth Community seniors who responded to a recent survey have a general physician, it might be relevant to talk about situations in which having a GP might be useful. So, when is a general physician better suited than a specialist for seniors?
- Continuity of care and personalised treatment
One of the primary benefits of general practitioners for elderly patients in India lies in the continuity of care they provide. By building enduring relationships, general practitioners offer individualised care that considers the overall health of the patient and any urgent medical concerns. By building long-term relationships with patients and their families, general physicians become familiar with their medical history, lifestyle, and specific needs. This familiarity allows them to understand the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and individual needs, leading to tailored treatment plans and enhanced trust between doctors and seniors.
- Affordability and convenience
In India, general physicians usually charge less for appointments compared to specialists. This affordability is beneficial for elderly patients who may require frequent medical visits. General physicians are equipped to handle common health problems experienced by seniors, such as rashes or fevers. By serving as a primary point of contact for basic health concerns, they reduce the need for multiple visits to different specialists, making healthcare more convenient for older adults.
- Preventive healthcare
General physicians place a strong emphasis on preventive healthcare, which is particularly important for senior patients. Through regular check-ups, vaccinations, and proactive guidance, GPs actively promote healthy ageing and reduce age-related health risks. By focusing on preventive measures, general physicians contribute to a better overall well-being and quality of life of elderly patients.
- Coordination of care
Given that many senior patients have multiple chronic conditions that require care from various specialists, GPs are necessary to coordinate and integrate healthcare services. Acting as a central point of contact, they enable effective communication and collaboration among different specialists. This ensures seamless and well-aligned medical interventions, leading to improved health outcomes for elderly patients in India.
In India, general physicians are instrumental in caring for elderly patients because they provide ongoing care, personalised treatment, affordability, and coordinated care. However, there are some situations in which a specialist’s treatment is required. Seniors can make a choice about when to see a specialist in consultation with their general physicians.