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Effingham family physician still makes house calls


EFFINGHAM — When Scott Willis, a retired tool and die maker, made the decision to move from Racine, Wisc., to Effingham, Ill., his top priority was to find a family physician he could trust. With a lengthy health history that included multiple strokes and a kidney transplant, Willis’ health might challenge most medical professionals. But the once-avid golfer was hopeful he would find someone who could get him back in the game.

richardson fred jrWillis had heard Dr. Fred Richardson’s name in the community. “I’m not the best patient you want to have,” said a smiling Willis. “With my health history, I needed the best doctor I could find. And it’s a challenge to find one with a good bedside manner who is a good communicator, which is important to me.”

An added positive recommendation from his home health nurse made the decision easy. Willis made an appointment with Richardson.

“We offer our community a full spectrum of family medicine,” said Richardson (left). “We care for patients and their families from cradle to grave, from newborns to elders. Our philosophy is to treat everyone the way we would like to be treated and give patients the time and the attention they deserve. This includes developing a true relationship with patients. It’s not just a doctor’s visit; it’s actually becoming a member of a person’s family.”

A unique component of Richardson’s care is that he is one of the few physicians that still make house calls. “Actually, it has been a key component of my care since I began practicing family medicine 30 years ago, and it still is today,” he said. And he was confident that this type of care would be an excellent fit for Willis’s needs.

“By the time I started working with Scott in July of 2016, he had experienced multiple strokes — four or five already. The entire left side of his body was challenged with severe weakness in his leg and arm, making it very difficult for him to move about. He was also a kidney recipient and on medication to help prevent rejection of his kidney.”

With Willis’ limited mobility, Dr. Richardson saw him at home, making it much easier for Willis and his family. He established several goals for Willis’ primary care. “First, our main objective was to bring Scott’s high blood pressure under control. We also addressed some of the aftermath of his chronic stroke, including encephalopathy, which is similar to dementia and can present itself after multiple strokes.”

Richardson also prescribed physical, speech, and occupational therapy to help Willis improve his mobility, speech, and daily living activities. In addition, he addressed Willis’ tobacco use with a smoking cessation program.

According to Willis, “My care — especially the therapy — has made a remarkable difference with my range of motion, mobility, speech and quality of life. Overall, I’m a whole lot better.”

Richardson agreed. “Though it’s a challenge for Scott to do some of the things he used to do, his mobility is better, and overall, he has improved. I believe a lot of Scott’s success can be attributed to him being able to stay at home with his family for much of his care.”

According to Willis, “Now we are beginning to enjoy time as a family again. We love the simple pleasures like watching my little girl jump on the trampoline, taking in a movie or watching our favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers, go for a win!”

Willis concluded, “I would encourage others to see Richardson for care. He has made a big difference in my life. He’s here and available in our community, and the fact that he comes to my home really makes care easy and accessible. You don’t see many doctors do that. It’s reassuring to have a doctor with his level of skill, compassion and bedside manner available … especially at home.”

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