Doctor house calls: Modern medicine looks to the past

Jul 13, 2023, 5:47 PM | Updated: 5:56 pm

OGDEN, Utah — For 65-year-old Joe Evans, simple chores are a struggle.

“It’s really, really hard,” he said. “I can’t even walk to the bathroom without getting out of breath.”

Evans, a former contractor, is on oxygen full time after being diagnosed with COPD five years ago.

He started smoking as a teenager.

“People told me it was bad for me, but I didn’t listen,” he said.

Evans is now mostly homebound. Trips to the doctor or dentist are risky and exhausting.

“And then, when I finally get home, I’m just so wore out. Just because, you know, not being able to breathe the whole time,” he said.

But his interactions with the health care community have improved.

“It’s just been amazing, since not only do they come here and take your blood pressure, check your lungs, but they brought equipment here to test my heart,” Evans said about Castell House Calls.

(Ken Fall/KSL TV) (Ken Fall/KSL TV)

The program is a subsidiary of Intermountain Health. A professional now regularly provides care in his Ogden apartment.

Nurse Practitioner Gayle Mortensen keeps tabs on Evans’ well-being and medications, and makes sure concerns are dealt with before they become a bigger problem.

“We found that people were using InstaCare and emergency departments as their primary care because they were waiting until they’re really, really sick before they addressed issues,” Mortensen said.

“The house calls program has helped decrease emergency room use by a significant number — 8 to 12%,” she claimed. “So, we save money by keeping patients healthier.”

Patients are referred to Castell House Calls through others in the medical community, such as their primary care or emergency room provider, hospital staff or a case manager at an insurance company. Intermountain Health’s own insurance company, SelectHealth, helped create the house calls program.

Back in the 1930’s and 40’s, doctor house calls were so common that 40% of patients saw doctors at home. By 1980, only about 1% of visits happened in people’s homes.

While society won’t ever return to those good old days, it’s clear that for patients with limited mobility, house calls dramatically improve quality of life.

“And they do a wonderful job,” Evans said. “It saves me time. It saves me heartache and pain. Oh man, it’s lifesaving.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Your Life Your Health

Is there a “best time” to exercise? A recent study clocks in with an answer.  But, what about y...

Ken Fall

Is there a ‘best time’ to exercise?

A new study suggests exercise in the morning may help with weight loss.

2 days ago

Jennifer and Mike Roe apartment...

Ken Fall

As fall begins, look inside the house to avoid dangerous falls

National Fall Prevention week coincides with the beginning of autumn. It’s the best time to ensure your loved ones are safe in their home.

9 days ago


Ken Fall

Proper nutrition will help your child reach their academic peak

Make sure your kids are well fueled for those busy school days - dieticians say they need it!

17 days ago

Tami Bellefeuille working in the Intermountain Health’s pain management program. (Ken Fall/KSL TV...

Ken Fall

Overcoming the grip of opioid dependence

Heber City woman moves past opioids to a life free from debilitating pain.

22 days ago

Man stands in a speeding boat...

Ken Fall

Boat Exhaust: Be aware of this silent killer

Carbon monoxide poisoning may be rare on Utah waterways, but the potential risk can be deadly.

1 month ago

Jessica Leon prepares a meal with her daughters...

Peter Rosen

Intermountain Health Heart Transplant Program: 600 stories

Discover how Intermountain Health's heart transplant teamwork brings hope and improved outcomes. Learn about patient stories and medical success.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Doctor house calls: Modern medicine looks to the past