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September 1992

Home Visits by Pediatric Residents: A Valuable Educational Tool

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex.

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(9):1064-1067. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160210066023

• Objective.  —To establish how many pediatric residency programs offer home visits, to assess the feasibility of making home visits as part of pediatric training, and to determine whether residents perceive home visits as worthwhile learning experiences.

Design.  —A questionnaire was mailed to all medical school pediatric departments in the United States and Puerto Rico to determine the prevalence of home visits during residency training. To study the feasibility of residents making home visits, a pilot program was instituted.

Participants.  —Fourteen pediatric residents participated in the study. Each resident visited a house, trailer, apartment, or shelter for the homeless that was within a 20-minute radius from the medical center. To determine the educational value of home visits, each resident wrote a one-page report immediately on his or her return to the hospital. After about 6 months, all participating residents completed a questionnaire retrospectively evaluating their home visits.

Selection Procedures.  —Interns who were neither on-call nor postcall the day of the visits were invited to participate. Patients were selected because they were homebound (eg, ventilator-dependent), had missed follow-up appointments, or had transportation difficulties.

Results.  —Thirteen percent of the pediatric residency programs surveyed currently include home visits. In all 14 of the pilot visits, the home was located without difficulty and the patient was at home. In each case, the family welcomed the visit. All the pediatric residents believed that the home visit was a worthwhile learning experience.

Conclusions.  —Although very few programs (13%) currently offer home visits as part of pediatric residency training, such visits are feasible within a large urban area. Residents are enthusiastic about seeing how and where their patients live, and consider home visits a worthwhile learning experience.(AJDC. 1992;146:1064-1067)

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