Positively Chicago: Making House Calls To Seniors

(CBS) — His mission is house calls and bringing something senior citizens desperately need straight in to their homes.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, what Dwayne Dobschuetez does is Positively Chicago.

On his bicycle, rolling through traffic, it’s easy to mistake him for a delivery person, but that’s sort of what he is.

The nurse practitioner delivers home care, making what used to be known as a house call.

“When he knocked on the door I knew that healing was coming,” says Old Town resident Helen Haugnes, who received a recent visit.

Dobschuetez explains: “People always say to me, ‘Is this something new?’ and I say no, this is something really old, but you have to be my age to remember the doctor coming to your house.”

Dobschuetez sees geriatric patients, folks in their 80’s and 90’s. But at 70, he’s in the same category.

“I joke that I graduated from the ER so that I could work with my people,” he says.

Dobschuetez spent nearly three decades as an emergency room nurse, the kind of man who, for years, would check in on an elderly patient he met in the ER.

“I couldn’t see any other way to follow up on him, and so that’s what I did — I went to his house,” he recalls.

In those visits, he realized a new calling. So, five years ago, he went back to school to become a geriatric nurse practitioner.

“I think I have an appreciation for what they are going through — the changes in their bodies,” he says.

“Oh, my god, he’s done amazing things,” Dr. Lee Lindquisat says.

Dobschuetez works in a new program for Northwestern Medicine’s geriatric practice. Doctors say many of these patients are often reluctant to venture out for an appointment with their physician.

By brining care into a senior’s home, he can write prescriptions or check in on minor complications before they escalate. Doctors say he’s helped reduce hospitalizations in the patients he sees.

“With Dwayne, he’s able to go there and almost rescue the health of the patient and bring them back,”  Lindquisat says.

Helping the next patient is what keeps Dobschuetez on the road.

“They say, ‘Can you go see this guy? How far will you go?’ and I’ve begun to realize in my mind I will go as far as it’s needed,” he says.

He’s the first nurse practitioner in the Northwestern program, but with additional funding coming more nurses will be added to provide home care for seniors in the Northwestern neighborhood.

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