Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Communication is Key to Better Care, Happy Families

You are traveling. Your mom is in an assisted living community. She isn't sleeping well or taking her medications. You have three sisters, who also lead busy lives. You are constantly playing phone tag between flights and meetings to find out the most recent update about her health and in turn, call each of your sisters to keep them up to date. Sound familiar?

Communication with care providers continues to be a full time job for many family members who are the primary contact for their loved one. As a family liaison myself, I am all too familiar with the time-sucker of phone tag, waiting on hold, and talking to several caregivers before I can get to the bottom of the issue for my clients. "Medications need refills, didn't eat lunch, won't take a shower, wants to go out for lunch, yelled at table mate, didn't sleep well, having a good day, needs new undershirts" were all separate phone calls I fielded during the course of a week for one client. Once I received the information from the care providers, I was then in charge of notifying the family and care team. I estimate that in one week, I spent at least an hour per issue between talking with the care providers, dealing with the issue, and reporting back to family members. So, you can imagine how thrilled I am to write about a company that will solve my communication woes.

Connect for Healthcare, in very simple terms, improves communication between care providers and families. How? Connect for Healthcare allows families to choose their preferred method of contact, email, text, or through a very well designed, easy to use, web portal. The founder, Neil Moore created the service after dealing with his own communication issues while his father resided in an assisted living facility.

"Connect for Healthcare is an inexpensive, easy-to-use, subscription-based web service that uses modern technologies - the Internet, e-mail and text messaging - to create and maintain a new and vital link between families and their loved ones in long-term care. It enables care providers to easily give regular, proactive, specific wellness updates to family members and loved ones no matter where they might be in the world. The family benefits by staying better informed and feeling more connected, their loved ones in long-term care benefit because the better informed and more engaged the family is, the better care they can receive, and the provider benefits by having a simple, one-step method of giving families what they really want."

What I like most about Connect for Healthcare is that each family member can be notified through their preferred method of communication, without any work from the primary family communicator. The family web portal allows families to not only establish their preferred contact method, but to designate what they would like to be notified about. Each client profile is tailored specifically to the client, family, and care provider.

For care providers, using Connect for Healthcare as a tool to communicate with families will save staff time, decrease communication errors, and in many cases, will simplify documentation and charting. Many long term care providers are offering Connect for Healthcare to the families they serve as an additional feature of their community. Families may also request Connect for Healthcare to be set up for their loved one, costs range anywhere from $15-$37 per month. To find out more about pricing or to view a tutorial of the program, visit www.connect4healthcare.com.

Amie Clark, Co-Founder, The Senior List

1 comment:

Home Instead Tucson said...

Thank you for the information and the link. Connect for Healthcare looks like an important service, something we should check out.