Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Technology Helps Ease Family Caregiver Concerns

By Natalie Lyda, Guest Writer

The rigors of family caregiving affect an estimated 22% of the American population who provide unpaid care for an adult family member or friend. While most family caregivers are more than willing to commit much of their time and energy to providing care, the stress of constantly caring for an aging or ill loved one can produce a lofty strain on emotions, finances and health. When the burden on a caregiver’s own family, career or health becomes too severe, the services of private duty in-home care agencies often provide the reprieve.

Private duty homecare providers provide respite for weary family caregivers who may be otherwise unable to leave an elderly loved one home alone. However, while the services of homecare agencies are meant to be a positive addition to the chain of elder care, leaving an elderly family member with a paid professional creates unexpected worries for many.

In a recent market research survey of 100 family caregivers, conducted by homecare software company ClearCare, the primary concerns of individuals utilizing homecare were examined. Among the most common worries noted in the survey were the quality of care, dietary intake, hygienic upkeep, and social interaction amongst private duty providers and senior clients.

One way to ease concerns of family caregivers is the integration of technology in private duty homecare services. While most homecare owners use software systems for managing finances and communicating via the internet, advances in technology over the past decade have developed the ability for homecare providers to take advantage of technology for managing care plans, updating family clients and monitoring senior clients when they are home alone.

The leading private duty in-home care agencies increasingly enable family caregivers to have visibility to the point-of-care so that they can be certain that the tasks they are most concerned about; like feedings and caregiver clock-in times, are being tracked in real-time. This represents a major leap forward from the traditional practice of paper care logs that are collected after shifts have already been completed – typically days later! The real-time tracking lets the agencies and family members know exactly what has been completed and when via the agency’s portal.

Beyond software utilized while care providers are in the home, advanced sensor monitoring systems allow homecare managers, and family caregivers, to essentially keep an eye on the elderly individual without being physically present. Elder monitoring systems go to work after the home has been outfitted with specialized cameras and sensors that track a senior’s movement within their own home. Dependent on the system, everything from movement throughout the home to the opening of doors and impacts from falls are tracked. The data gathered is then immediately sent to family members and care managers via email or phone alert.

Regardless of the type of technology that best suits your homecare service, embracing technological advances targeted to the private duty sector can help a homecare business thrive. Work more efficiently, communicate more effectively, provide superior service and ease the concerns of clientele by becoming a tech savvy elder care provider!

Natalie Lyda is a writer and blogger. She has experienced the difficulties of family caregiving personally and strives to provide relevant information for caregivers. Her work can be seen weekly at http://clearcareonline.com/blog and she can be contacted at nlyda@clearcareonline.com.

2 comments:

  1. "The stress of constantly caring for an aging or ill loved one can produce a lofty strain on emotions, finances and health." That's true, the same reason why it causes rifts in family relationships and distance among even the immediate members. It's not so hard to see why, considering the effort it requires in hospice care.

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  2. Medical services need to be upgraded. It has to align with today's latest healthcare technology.

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