'Technology needs to meet caregivers where they are, making their lives easier and their efforts more effective,' explained Gail Hunt, President and CEO of the Alliance.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) July 16, 2014
A new report from the National Alliance for Caregiving (the “Alliance”) identifies key steps to better support family caregiving through the use of mobile, online, and in-home technologies. The report, Catalyzing Technology to Support Family Caregiving, follows an April 2014 roundtable featuring experts from government, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, caregiving advocates and researchers. The roundtable developed six recommendations, summarized in the report, to inspire and guide the industry.
The report begins by noting that millions of Americans are engaged in providing care to family members, friends or neighbors, and that the amount of caregiving is likely to increase as the population ages. To date, however, technology has played only a minor role in helping caregivers with their tasks.
Gail Gibson Hunt, President and CEO of the Alliance and co-convener of the roundtable, is hopeful that the recommendations will help to spur development of new tools to coordinate care between caregivers, patients, and healthcare providers. “Technology needs to meet caregivers where they are, making their lives easier and their efforts more effective,” Hunt explained. “This report offers a roadmap to develop tools that a caregiver would find helpful in day-to-day life.”
The report’s recommendations include developing better data to define the impact of caregiving, increasing awareness through national and local conversations about the realities of caregiving, providing personalized “coaching” to caregivers, and developing business cases for employers and healthcare providers that quantify the benefits of supporting caregivers.
Experts called for development of an “Intelligent Family Care Assistant,” a system to keep track of and coordinate the family’s care tasks. Functions of such a system should include understanding the overall context of the family’s activities, notifying family members of upcoming events (from daily tasks to doctor’s appointments), and alerting the caregiver of current or impending crises.
Richard Adler, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for the Future and co-author of the report stressed the importance of continuing to foster caregiving research, saying, “Innovators need to clearly understand the problems that caregivers face in order to develop effective and usable technology solutions.”
Cali Yost, founder of the Flex/Strategy Group and a participant in the April roundtable agrees. “The situation caregivers find themselves in is often chaotic and confusing, especially if they also have a job. This makes it difficult for them to think systematically about what kinds of help or support they need,” she said. “With the right technology and coaching, caregivers can fit their responsibilities together in a way that works best for everyone—their loved one, their family, their boss, and themselves.”
“Employers and healthcare institutions will both benefit from empowered family caregivers,” added Rajiv Mehta, Principal, Bhageera Consulting and co-author of the report, “and are ideally positioned to encourage entrepreneurs to innovate.”
The report is available for download at http://www.caregiving.org. It was made possible thanks to generous support from the California HealthCare Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Institute for the Future, and Intel-GE Care Innovations.
About the National Alliance for Caregiving:
The National Alliance for Caregiving is a national, non-profit coalition focused on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation and advocacy. Through supporting public policy research, coalition building, and education, the Alliance has supported America’s nearly 66 million family caregivers since 1996. Learn more at http://www.caregiving.org.