Hospice work includes house calls

November 06, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The new medical director of Carroll Hospice makes house calls.

Since his appointment Sept. 1, Dr. F. Michael Gloth III has been visiting many of the hospice's current 20 patients in their own homes.

"It makes a thousand times more sense for a doctor to see a frail patient in the home," said Dr. Gloth. "It allows for a good assessment in the environment and is a tremendous help to those confined and their caregivers."

House calls often lead to life-saving discoveries, he said. He recently detected carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty furnace in a patient's home.

Although Dr. Gloth, 36, finds a tremendous need in the communities, few doctors today treat patients at home.

"The economics just don't work out," he said. "Most physicians have fairly busy practices and can see four patients in their offices in the time it takes to make one house call."

Dr. Gloth, who is certified in internal and geriatric medicine, lives near Carroll County with his wife and young daughter, and is on the faculty of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

"I have been able to see patients on weekends, holidays or in the evenings," he said. "Availability is important to the program. We don't know when a patient will worsen and die, and we must be accessible to the family."

The physician also is completing gerontology research, on metabolic bone disease and bone loss occurrence, through a grant from the National Institute on Aging. He attends the acute medical wards at Francis Scott Key Medical Center in Baltimore.

As the hospice's medical director, he reviews all cases and meets with patient-care teams weekly.

He also has applied for medical privileges at Carroll County General Hospital.

"I offer medical guidance for the hospice's care teams," he said. "My role is relatively small compared to the lion's share of the credit which goes to hospice and its volunteers. Right from the start, I have been impressed with the great care hospice patients receive."

The new director also is experienced in working with the terminally ill, including AIDS patients.

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