McCortney Family In-Home Care News
Can Technology Save Home Care?
This article comes from a company that is trying to sell their care management system, but it does discuss an interesting question. First, I don't know that I agree that Home Care needs "saving", but I do think that technology is only going to make it better.
First, let's talk about what McCortney Family In-home care already does with technology.
We use what the industry calls a "telephony" system, but I have always thought that was a bad name. Our system allows our caregiver to clock in when they arrive at the client's home every day and clock out when they leave. Yes, that's a telephony system, but what happens from there is far from anything Alexander Graham Bell every imagined.
1. During that phone call, the In-home caregiver enters a unique caregiver number. A computer grabs that number and matches it to the caregiver. At the same time, since the phone call is made from the client's home phone, the computer grabs the caller ID number, and matches it to the house that the call came from. Thus, a computer verifies down to the minute that the right caregiver is at the right home. This is important for all of our clients, but is even more important for those senior citizens who have Alzheimer's or dementia. Having logs of these phone calls allows the children of our Alzheimer's disease or dementia patients to know for sure that their parents are being cared for even when their parents can't remember for sure who came to the house or what day they came.
2. Next, the computer tells us if something is wrong. Did the caregiver show up early, did the caregiver show up late, or (worst of all) has the caregiver not shown up at all. If the computer has not recorded a phone call within ten minutes from the start of a family home care visit, we know it. The office staff gets text messages, email alerts, and our computer monitors start showing a red alert when caregivers have not clocked in when they are supposed to. This is very important when we are caring for senior adults who must have a caregiver. Without this type of system, nobody ever knows if the caregiver is really at work. Without this type of system, we don't know when we need to rally the troop to make sure that someone who needs in-home care services gets what they need that day.
3. Finally, we can use this system to tell our caregivers things they need to know before a shift starts. We try very hard not to call our caregivers when they are working, but we often have information that they need to know. This happens most often when children of our clients have information they want passed on or have something in particular that they want the caregiver to pay attention to. We can leave a "voice-mail" for the caregiver that they will hear when they call the toll-free number.
So, yes, telephone technology helps, but it is the tying together of telephone calls, computers, and the many different lines of communication that are available through technology today that we are able to ensure that our elder care clients are taken care of on a daily basis. Will technology help us even more in the future? I'm sure it will, and I can't wait to see what it looks like. The ability to monitor more closely exactly what happens every day with senior adults in their home to ensure quality of care will be great. The technology is coming, and we can't wait.