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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Hello, snowbirds

November 7, 2019
By CARYLE REGAN, RN , Pine Island Eagle

This is the time of the year when our winter residents are returning en masse. They come to get away from the four letter words snow and cold. When they come, they leave not only friends, neighbors and families from up north but, also, their doctors and their medical histories.

So, Snowbirds, what happens when you get sick, suffer an injury or something nasty happens and you have to have surgery? You have no other choice but to go to an outpatient clinic or the emergency room. When in one of these facilities, you will be triaged. This means that patients who have more serious conditions will be seen ahead of you. Possibly, you will sit for hours and hours waiting to be seen by medical personal.

You are treated, discharged and sent home. Then, a few days later ,you still are not feeling well, or your injury or surgical incision is not healing properly and you have to return for a second visit. You might not see the same person who initially treated you.

This can be discouraging and may, or may not, be medically in your best interest.

So, what can you do? Prioritize finding a primary care and/or any specialized care physician you may need when you first arrive down here in Southwest Florida. Do this before you get sick or injured and you need their services. This allows time to coordinate information between the two offices in a timely matter and then, if something happens, the Florida physician is not holding up your treatment pending the receipt of your medical history from your physician up north and vice versa. This communication pathway is important.

A second advantage of having a physician here in Florida could be financial. It is almost always cheaper to be seen in a physician's office than to be seen in an ER. This is also true if you have insurance.

The Beacon of HOPE is at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. Call 239-283-5123.



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