Sir.—Medical practice seems to go through cycles or perhaps even circles! The article on home visits by Berger and Samet appearing in the September issue of the Journal (1981;135:812-814) underlines this point. The authors bring to our attention something that we already really know, but do not wish to address: the fact that understanding how families live and interact in their own environment can provide invaluable information to the physician. This information may have both short- and long-term impact.
In Great Britain, home visiting (still common) is undertaken by family doctors, district nurses, and health visitors for a number of reasons: (1) acute illness in children, (2) after-hours contacts, (3) chronic disease in children, and (4) neonatal care. When a newborn is brought home, the midwife visits almost daily for ten days, to check on infant care and feeding, after which the health visitor comes to the home to