The e-Connected Family Caregiver

The e-Connected Family Caregiver is a market research report based on a study of 1,000 technology‑using family caregivers to assess how helpful 12 technologies would be in supporting the caregivers or helping them provide care. The study report is published by the National Alliance for Caregiving with funding from UnitedHealthcare.

Top Findings include

“The top expected benefits are saving time (77% believe they would benefit somewhat or a great deal), making caregiving easier logistically (76%), making the care recipient feel safer (75%), increasing feelings of being effective (74%), and reducing stress (74%). The technologies with the greatest potential can best be seen by plotting a graph of the percentage of caregivers who think a technology is helpful by the percentage who report that one or more barriers would prevent them from trying it.”

Helpfulness Versus Barriers of 12 Caregiver Technologies

Helpfulness Versus Barriers of 12 Caregiver Technologies

Caregiver Technologies used in the Study


Technologies listed from  Most Potential to Least Potential

% Very or Somewhat Helpful

% With Any Barrier to Trying It

Personal health record tracking A website or computer software to keep track of care recipient’s personal health records, including patient history, symptoms, medications, tests, etc.

77%

43%

Caregiving coordination systemA shared electronic log for care recipient’s doctor appointments and other caregiving needs. Caregivers can use the system to request a volunteer on certain days and times, and family members and friends can use it to sign up to help.

70%

47%

Medication support systemA device that reminds the care recipient and dispenses pills on schedule. Electronic buttons can be pressed for directions on how to take each pill (e.g., on a full stomach, avoid certain types of foods) and possible side effects to watch out for. It also alerts the caregiver by phone or e-mail if a dosage is not removed from the device within a certain time period.

70%

47%

A symptom monitor and transmitter A device that electronically sends information such as blood sugar or blood pressure readings to a doctor or care manager to help manage care recipient’s health care. It also creates symptom-tracking graphics of the care recipient’s health.

70%

54%

Interactive system for physical, mental and leisure activities A TV-based device, like a Wii Fit, that would allow the caregiver to create a schedule of gentle physical activities and mental games for the care recipient. It includes personalized activities with family photos, illustrated audio books and other audio-visual and interactive leisure activities for him/her.

62%

52%

A video phone system A phone with video capability or an Internet-connected computer with webcam that allows caregivers to check in and see the care recipient when they can’t physically be together (during work, vacations, errands, long-distance caregiving).

61%

58%

Passive movement monitoring system A system to track your [RELATION]’s movement in the home. It informs you whether important expected events take place (e.g., {he/she} got out of bed in the morning) and alerts you to possible concerns (in the bathroom for an hour, getting out of bed multiple times each night, leaving the house when {he/she} is expected to be home). It uses GPS in a wristband, necklace, or shoes; or passive monitoring devices placed in the walls.

58%

Caregiver training simulation Electronic video simulations on how to handle day-to-day behavioral and psychological issues (e.g., what to do if your [RELATION] refuses to bathe, threatens suicide, won’t give up driving). Caregivers watch a situation and choose how they should respond. The simulation shows what would happen next and demonstrates the best ways to respond.

52%

Caregiver decision support tool An online or smartphone application that helps guide you through difficult decisions and actions, using a logical question-answer sequence that leads to advice and pros/cons you can consider. It can help with decisions such as where should the care recipient live (with you, in assisted living, independently with paid help), how can you gain cooperation from family members to help you, etc.

52%

Caregiving coaching software Computer software that coaches you toward caregiving goals, with programmed steps toward the goals and reinforcements. Caregivers use this to help them with stress reduction, assertiveness training, coping skills, decision-making skills, etc.

48%

Transportation display This electronic screen allows you to request transportation and view updated arrival times of nearby public transportation (e.g., buses, trains, special needs vans) and pre-arranged private transportation (e.g., taxis, medical transport)

43%

Caregiver  mentor matching service An online matching service that pairs you with another caregiver as a peer mentor. You can specify which characteristics to match on (e.g., care recipient’s age, the condition of the person you are caring for, your relationship with that person)

36%

Video Phones are being replaced by Video Conferencing on smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVBecause the results of any study can be greatly influenced by the process, assumptions, questions asked, and other factors, reader should always weigh those factors against their own experiences. One technology in particular stood  out to me and made me question other parts of the report.  Video Phone systems, for example, are fast becoming obsolete and replaced by a slew of video conferencing options on PCs, TVs, smartphones and tablets, and they are quickly gaining market acceptance. I wonder how the results might change if the survey questions were updated to show more current technologies. See Video Conferencing for Home Healthcare.

One role of Modern Health Talk is to raise awareness of useful  technologies, be we  do appreciate seeing reports like this to help us expand our own views with new perspectives, and feedback from our community helps immensely.

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