GrandCare Blog

Independent Living: You Won’t Believe How They Made Mom Feel At Home

Independent Living: You Won’t Believe How They Made Mom Feel At Home

Betty’s husband had been gone for several years and taking care of the house all alone was becoming too much for her. Her children felt that it was time for her to move to an independent living community. Although she didn’t like the idea, she agreed so as not to be a burden.

When move-in day arrived, Betty was worried. Aside from Packer Sundays, what would she do all day? Her favorite football team doesn’t play every day, after all. But when she walked into her new apartment for the first time she was surprised to see pictures of the Pack displayed on a large screen. Her family explained that this community uses the touchscreen to let her know about activities, dining options, and more. There was a touchscreen in every apartment.

As she stood admiring the football-themed slideshow, Betty noticed something else. Some of these photos were of her. Betty with her kids, Betty with her husband, all of them taken at Packer games. She even saw the one from their 40th wedding anniversary–taken at Lambeau Field, of course.

Her kids explained that they had supplied these pictures themselves. They had uploaded them to the touchscreen, personalizing it just for her. They had even put a button on the screen that took her right to the Green Bay Packers website. Another button labeled “GO PACK!” showed her video of some of their Super Bowl touchdowns.

And that is how Betty’s children, her new community, and the Green Bay Packers helped her feel right at home in her new place.

Find out what GrandCare can do for your community. We do community-wide messaging, video calling, resident directories, concierge services, resident check-ins, and more. Click here to contact us today!

Video Calls Save Lives

Video Calls Save Lives

Video calls are a feature of modern life. It’s the preferred method for grandparents to keep up with distant grandchildren. It can help seniors stay connected even when they live alone. But can video calls save your life?

Apparently they can. Just ask Opokua Kwapong of New York. She woke from a nap when her sister, Adumea Sapong, FaceTimed her from Manchester, England. The sister could tell right away that something didn’t seem right. Opokua was slurring her words, which might have been chalked up to sleepiness, but because it was a video call she could clearly see OPokua’s face looked wrong. She was having a stroke.

OPokua got medical attention immediately and credits the technology with saving her life.

GrandCare has video calling from the touchscreen to your PC and from touchscreen to our new iPhone app. Sure, it helps family and friends stay connected. It definitely can help stave off loneliness. But it can also provide critical information about the wellbeing of the GrandCare user. It can be hard to tell what’s going on with just a voice call. Sometimes you just have to see for yourself to know that everything’s ok.

Do you know the signs of a stroke? Use the letters in “fast” to spot stroke signs and know when to call 9-1-1. Click here to learn about FAST.

GrandCare Mobile

GrandCare Mobile is now available in the App Store for iPhone. This is something that we’ve wanted for our caregivers for a long time. We hope you love this new way to stay connected to your GrandCare touchscreen user.

So what does our App do? Three things. First, it can place or receive video calls between the touchscreen and your iPhone. Second, it lets you type a message and send it directly to the touchscreen. Third, it allows you to upload photos to the GrandCare slideshow. Let’s take these one at a time.

Video calls can be initiated from our App or from the GrandCare touchscreen. Incoming calls to the app will ring your lockscreen, just like any other call would do. Calls from our App to the touchscreen are indistinguishable from video calls initiated in your browser. The best part is, we’ve made these calls highly secure. This is important for everyone’s privacy. But it’s of special concern to our professional caregivers who might wish to have a billable medical consultation over the video call. Our video calling is fully HIPAA-compliant.

Typing a message and sending it to the touchscreen couldn’t be easier. Just enter a subject and a brief message and touch Send. Within moments your message will appear on the GrandCare touchscreen where the user can read and dismiss it. These kinds of messages are handy and can be used for just about any purpose. “Don’t forget to drink water today,” or “I’m coming over this afternoon at 3” are just two examples.

The GrandCare mobile app allows you to upload pictures to the slideshow. Next time you’re snapping a photo at a family get-together or other special occasion, upload it right to your GrandCare user’s touchscreen. Select photos from your photo roll or take a picture on the spot. It’s up to you and it’s that simple.

The GrandCare Mobile App is free for all GrandCare caregivers. Download it today and log in using your my.grandcare credentials. We think you’re going to love it. And don’t forget to leave a review on the App Store!

There’s just one more thing… Yes, we’re working on an Android version!

5 Tech Tools to Make Life Easier for Family Caregivers

5 Tech Tools to Make Life Easier for Family Caregivers

Each November, National Family Caregivers Month reminds us of the important, commendable work that family caregivers do each and every day. It also serves as a reminder of the mental and physical toll that caregiving can take. Fortunately, modern technology offers a number of solutions for easing this burden, making life easier for caregivers and empowering their loved ones to live more comfortable, more independent lives. If you’re a caregiver for someone in your family, here are the five most important tech tools you need to know.

GrandCare Systems

A centralized system that incorporates everything from safety monitors to socialization, GrandCare is designed to empower both caregivers and their loved ones. A large, high-visibility touchscreen provides simple access to medication reminders, weather updates, daily schedules, video chat and a variety of other tools that help seniors age in place in comfort, while an online portal gives caregivers on-the-go access to activity patterns, alerts, medical information and more. Optional sensors can expand the system to allow detailed activity and wellness monitoring, creating a highly customized system that’s designed with the specific needs and concerns of each senior and their caregiver in mind. Doctors and other healthcare providers can also be granted access to the system, making GrandCare a great holistic solution for those requiring ongoing medical care.

Automated Pill Dispensers

Managing even a single prescription drug can prove difficult for some people, but juggling the half-dozen or more medications that many seniors take every day can quickly become overwhelming. This frequently leads to skipping or doubling doses, which may carry real health consequences. One solution to this problem is automated pill dispensers, which use digital timers to automatically dispense medications on a preprogrammed schedule. Many such dispensers also feature alarms to provide notification of each dosage time, and some are also available with monitoring so that caregivers or health professionals can ensure compliance. For added peace of mind, seek out a locked, tamper-proof dispenser to ensure that no one can access the stored medications until the appropriate time.

Personal Emergency Response Systems

A family caregiver’s worst nightmare is for their loved one to fall or suffer a medical emergency and be rendered unable to call for help. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common, and studies have shown that an elderly person’s odds of surviving such an ordeal fall sharply the longer they go without help. To alleviate this risk, a personal emergency response system (PERS) ensures that assistance is always within arm’s reach, providing a small, lightweight transmitter that can call for help with just the press of a button. These transmitters typically come in the form of a wrist or necklace pendant, and they connect the user to a 24/7 monitoring service that can promptly summon the appropriate emergency services.

Home Automation and Home Monitoring

Independent living is very important for many seniors, but managing daily tasks can become a real chore. Home automation lends a helping hand by placing all sorts of tasks at your loved one’s fingertips, from smart lighting that can be turned on or off from anywhere in the home to smart thermostats that can be set based on your loved one’s schedule and preferences. Smart technology can help with monitoring and security, too. Smart security systems can be viewed remotely from virtually anywhere, allowing both you and your loved one to stay aware of their surroundings and check visitors at the door. Paired with smart locks, the door can even be unlocked remotely for expected visitors. Similarly, indoor smart cameras are a great way for you to keep an eye on your loved one even when you can’t be there physically, ensuring that you’re never left out of contact.

Smartphone Apps

There really is an app for nearly everything, and caregiving is no exception. Apps like Lotsa Helping Hands, CareZone and Caring Village help with managing your loved one’s care, allowing you to bring friends and family members together, communicate securely, create and assign tasks that need to be done, share photos and much more. Another useful app is eCare21, which works with wearable devices and monitors to provide convenient, unintrusive monitoring of everything from activity levels to heart rate and blood glucose. Finally, AARP Caregiving provides many of the same scheduling, monitoring and communication functions as other apps, but it also includes a highly useful help center with all sorts of health and safety information, frequently asked questions and even answers to urgent questions.

Being a family caregiver is certainly meaningful and rewarding work, but it’s also tremendously challenging. With a little help from modern technology, you can make your job easier, give your loved one more freedom and independence and ensure that they’re as safe and comfortable in their homes as possible.

Maricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who is interested in writing about smart gadgets, emerging tech trends and environmentally friendly advice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Second Brain

Second Brain

A few years ago a man named Sandy Halperin contacted us. He wanted to know if GrandCare could be helpful for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. We were intrigued by the idea. We asked Sandy if he had suggestions. He did.

Sandy himself had recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 60. Since that time he has become a well-known advocate for the care and cure of the disease, especially in his native state of Florida. As his disease progressed he often found himself stopping in his tracks without any clear idea of what he was supposed to do next or what he had already done earlier in the day.

With Sandy’s help, GrandCare developed features specifically designed to provide cognitive assistance to people with memory problems. Sandy especially appreciated the To Do List and Today’s Schedule. Together, these features help Sandy quickly orient himself and be reminded of what he supposed to do next and what he had done earlier. He began to refer to his GrandCare unit as his “second brain.”

Thanks to Sandy, GrandCare is a more fully featured product designed to meet the needs of seniors of all kinds–even those who need help in their battle with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions.

For more on Sandy, check out this CNN report from Sanjay Gupta.

GrandCare Expands in UK

GrandCare Expands in UK

You thought GrandCare was a small tech firm from southeastern Wisconsin.

Well, that’s true. But did you know that we’re also expanding into a 2,500 square foot office in Manchester, England?

That’s right! GrandCare UK just inked a five year lease on office space in Altringcham. This will allow us to grow and distribute GrandCare all over the United Kingdom. Our customers will include the National Health Service, private homes, and assisted living facilities.

Read all about it in the Manchester Evening News. And then watch GrandCare UK’s latest TV commercial below.

GrandCare’s Charlie Hillman to Speak at HxRefactored

GrandCare’s Charlie Hillman to Speak at HxRefactored

Cambridge, Massachusetts. June 20th and 21st. More than six hundred thinkers, leaders, and innovators will gather to discuss one thing: the healthcare experience. GrandCare’s own Charlie Hillman has been selected as an industry thought leader to share his experience and knowledge. Alongside his industry colleagues, he will be discussing tech for the aging population and how GrandCare technology helps the elderly in mind, body and spirit.

HXRefactored June 201-21If there’s one thing Charlie is passionate about, it’s using enabling technologies to better the aging experience, make caregiving easier, and to mitigate costly health interventions. “The current healthcare system cannot go on without bankrupting my children and grandchildren,” Hillman said. “Patient engagement is critical. Technologies designed to engage patients will reduce costs, improve outcomes, and revolutionize care delivery.”

There’s no telling where the conversation will lead, but it’s certain to be interesting. Healthcare is a topic that isn’t going away anytime soon as key innovators and healthcare experts work together to find ways to make healthcare more accessible, more affordable and scalable.

Recent GrandCare Studies showed increased patient satisfaction for patients that combined hands on care with GrandCare technology. This is because GrandCare was designed to improve the care recipient’s experience. Read the study findings here.

Now in its seventh year, HxRefactored will take place in Cambridge, MA on June 20 & 21, 2017. Click here to register.

Does it Work? Yep. And Now We Can Prove It.

Does it Work? Yep. And Now We Can Prove It.

We have always believed that technology could keep seniors safe, healthy, and connected. This belief is why we do what we do at GrandCare. But can we prove it really is effective for clinical situations? Well that’s an easy answer. Yes. And we have the data to back it up. GrandCare does help the senior and disabled population to stay healthier, while bringing down the cost of care.

In recent case studies, the clients used GrandCare in conjunction with 24/7 case management services. GrandCare automatically recorded patient vitals, reminded patients when to take vitals or medications, passively monitored activity patterns, and triggered rule-based alerts to notify caregivers if something seemed amiss. Caregivers could preventatively address situations, often with simple and inexpensive remedies. These included everything from phone calls, HIPAA-compliant video chats, med changes or, if needed, clinical care. Many clients eligible for nursing home care were able to remain at home.

Overall, the results were remarkable. Patients were healthier, ER visits and hospital readmissions dropped, and senior satisfaction was much higher.

Hospital Readmission Studies

  • One Georgia study used GrandCare technology in conjunction with case management services and found hospital readmissions reduced by 51% from pre-pilot rates.
  • Another study with older adults eligible for nursing home care utilized GrandCare’s passive technology to monitor ADLs and IADLs and found fewer acute hospitalizations, ER visits, LTC days, and SNF admissions.
  • Maryland participants in a GrandCare program saw a 58% reduction in acute care admission rates, for a savings of $372,672.
  • These Maryland participants also experienced a reduction in the all-cause 30-day readmission rate to 4.5% (compared to the 15.95% state average), for a savings of $25,880. The cost to deliver this technology-enabled care was only $6,600.

Emergency Department Utilization

  • One initiative using GrandCare Technology to manage patients with high emergency department utilization achieved a 75% reduction in ER visits.
  • In a passive technology pilot with nursing home eligible patients at risk of falls and living alone, utilization of ER, long-term care and SNFs were all reduced by at least 10%.

Improved Self-Management

  • A patient population using GrandCare Technology demonstrated 88% adherence to their medical device and medication reminder treatment regimen.
  • Participants using GrandCare reported a willingness to become more engaged and felt an increased awareness in self health.

Improved Satisfaction

  • Participants in the Maryland study reported high levels of patient satisfaction.
  • For patients in the Georgia group, 93% reported satisfaction with services.
  • In a pilot of 22 patients using GrandCare, 100% of respondents agreed with the statement, “I have no difficulty telling others about the benefits of the system.”

Chronic Disease Management

  • Patients using GrandCare with Uncontrolled Diabetes demonstrated improvements, with A1C (blood glucose) values at or below their baseline.
  • In those patients managing Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) with the combination of GrandCare telehealth monitoring and care coaching, 96.5% of them maintained or improved their baseline NYHA classification score.
  • For patients managing Hypertension with GrandCare, care coaching, a BP cuff and telehealth tools, 84% were able to maintain or improve their JNC-7 classification score.

Cost-Effectiveness

  • One study found that the initial investment in technology was recouped in 1-3 years due to reduced costs of care.
  • The total savings in reduced acute admissions was $372,672 for patients using GrandCare with RPM and care management, while the cost to administer this technology-enabled care was $64,500. Leaving the total cost savings at $308,172.

GrandCare facilitates better care, better outcomes, lower costs, while improving patient satisfaction. We always knew that was true. And now we can prove it.

GrandCare at Moraine Park Technical College

GrandCare at Moraine Park Technical College

GrandCare’s founding member and VP of Business Development, Laura Mitchell, gave a talk for nursing students at Moraine Park Technical College. The subject of her presentation was “Disruptive Technologies in Aging and Healthcare.” Both GrandCare and Moraine Park are located in West Bend, a city of 30,000 people in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Laura discussed the disruptive demographic of the “aging tsunami,” caused by baby boomers reaching retirement age, exacerbated by the rising cost of health care. That’s where technologies like GrandCare can help, by facilitating remote patient monitoring, providing secure video chat and medication management.

It was the last day of the nursing students’ first semester of study at Moraine Park Tech. “It’s encouraging how receptive and inspired these future clinical providers were with the presence of telehealth and telemedicine technologies,” Laura said. “Especially considering that technology will play a large role in the delivery of personalized, predictive and proactive care.”

These young, engaged students are a new generation of clinical caregivers. They aren’t afraid of technology. They expect it. Their older counterparts can often seem more cautious and less accepting of advanced technologies. When shown GrandCare, the Moraine Park Tech students immediately began to get excited and brainstorm implementation strategies.

Laura, who speaks all over the country on connected health, digital caregiving and aging, doesn’t usually get the luxury of working with organizations in her own back yard. “I love that we’re engaging local people and local organizations,” she said. “Innovation doesn’t need to happen only in Silicon Valley. We can obviously benefit greatly from technology interventions, especially here in the Midwest.”

RSS Monitoring Using GrandCare to Help State of Ohio Give Better Care

RSS Monitoring Using GrandCare to Help State of Ohio Give Better Care

The State of Ohio is one of GrandCare’s newest fans. And it’s not just because of our rock star good looks.

A recent segment on ABC 6 On Your Side highlighted GrandCare affiliate RSS Monitoring, and its successful implementation of GrandCare technology, to help save the State of Ohio a lot of money in taking care of disabled residents who need nursing care provided in their homes.

The State of Ohio is experiencing a shortage of home health aides. It’s cheaper for people to receive care in their homes, but the staffing shortage meant that people were getting less care than they needed, or care that wasn’t as good as it should be. That’s why, four years ago, RSS turned to GrandCare for a solution.

“The technology in that case takes the place of a staff person,” said John Martin, Director of the Department of Developmental Disabilities. “It’s one of those neat things where we’re both good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and it improved the quality of life of some of the folks we’re serving.”

The numbers of dollars saved are larger than you might imagine.

According to the ABC news report, “Martin said each person who uses that technology saves the state between $10,000 to $100,000 compared to the cost of having an around-the-clock home health aide.”

Residents are helped by a variety of GrandCare’s monitoring capabilities. Examples include:

“People with autism who function better with a predictable routine can have a sensor in their shower to make sure they’re getting their morning started on the right track. People who suffer seizures can have a sensor detect if they’ve fallen and might need help.”

The residents like the results.

“People help me out,” said Becky Ross who suffers from seizures and now has sensors on her floors to detect if she’s fallen. “I can be more independent (with the sensors).”

If the sensors in Ross’s home go off, she will get a video call to make sure she’s okay. If she’s not, emergency help will be sent to her home.

Currently 170 people have sensors like that installed in their homes. Thanks to the success of this four-year venture, Gov. Kasich’s budget would now expand the program to cover roughly 600 people.

GrandCare is proud to be a part of this effort. We created GrandCare as a way to improve the lives of so many people. And we’re delighted that in the process of helping their residents, Ohio has found that our systems can help save their taxpayers big money.

See the ABC News video

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