What is Family Medicine?
Family medicine is a specialty which incorporates the following disciplines:
- Internal Medicine
- Primary Care
- Adolescent Medicine
This medical specialty provides continuous healthcare for the individual/family from infancy to the grave. Care is continuous through all stages of the life cycle. This type of care was essential before the US society become so mobile (moving from location to location). Cradle to grave medicine is rare now but having a medical home is more common. In some medical homes you may even have one solo physician, but mostly the medical home will be a multi provider practice with doctors, nurses, physician assistants and medical assistants.
Family Medicine aka Family Practice physicians are trained to see the family with a wide focus attempting to focus on not just one part of the body but on every part, integrating the parts to which makes the whole: age, sex, organ systems, behavioral health (social, mental functioning).
“The family medicine practice is your home where your health complaints start, end, or are just monitored. Health related questions may originate at your home and then are sent out to colleague specialists in consultation which will then collaborate in your treatment. When resolved, the patient will be sent back to the medical home. “
Family Medicine practices lost their luster for a while and were relegated to the back burner- being deemed not as glamorous as the “Specialist”. The community could simply go to the specialist and bypass the traditional first step. Many Family Medicine physicians became discouraged and retired. Medical Students were reluctant to choose it as a career path. Pay was cut to less than survivable levels. All while the specialist thrived.
“As an enthusiastic young medical student, I chose Family Practice as a career path. This was a time when the idea of HMO’s was taking foothold. In my then brand new medical practice, I realized that it could not survive financially. I did as many others did, I changed my specialty. It was a very tough decision for me. “
Then something remarkable happened. The federal government saw that this essential medical specialty was dying or disappearing fast. With the aging population and limited funds for the US healthcare industry, it made the decision to shift spending to Primary Preventative Medicine. Now Family Medicine practices can survive and thrive. The studies are showing that healthcare in the US has been improving and the cost has trended down thanks to Family Medicine making a comeback.
Family medicine physicians are trained in everything and offer services for the following conditions. The list is only partial, here are the common ailments treated and managed:
Families unfortunately often will have family members with substance abuse problems. It could be hidden and only recently discovered causing shock and seriously interfere with the usual harmony of the family. The addiction is treated, as well as, the bodies damage from the ravages of use of illicit substances like HIV, HCV, MRSA infections, Heart problems, can all result from using drugs. There is depression and anxiety, just to name a few. Dr. Brunson treats the whole patient including more than just pill / alcohol / mental or behavioral problems. Holistic care is given, including keeping a healthful eye on the whole family.
Innovative- cutting edge treatments. Think you have tried everything? Think again. This is one of Dr. Brunson’s favorite challenges.
Allergy and Asthma
Prescriptions, Nebulizer treatments, breathing test are offered in office.
Providing EKG’s or on time referrals to a specialist if needed. Cardiology problems are sometimes hidden and need to be found. A good routine examination can uncover potential heart problems. In any case, heart problems should always be ruled out. But please don’t wait if you suspect one, visit the ER immediately.
Keeping up with current potential health events. Drinking and driving, Infectious disease in the community (STD outbreak for example).
Is it a spider bite? What kind of rash is this? Is it an allergic rash? Is it a common wart or something cancerous? Don’t diagnosis yourself.
Diabetes, Obesity, thyroid problems to name a few related diseases should be treated and monitored. Get checked out.
Ear Nose and Throat
Stuffy nose all the time? May be from nasal polyps or worse. Nosebleeds. Wax impacted ear canals? May need a flush or irrigation. Sore throat – infection or something else? Cough with meals Gustatory Rhinitis with mucus running down the back of the throat?
Baby boomers are always welcomed