GrandCare Blog

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

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.

Software Updates

Software updates are here! They include enhancements to Away Periods, Message Center, reports, backups, the Check-In button, new ZWave sensors and of course bug fixes. Here’s a complete list.

GCManage 2.3.7 (Care Portal)

• You can now add notes to Away Periods
• Message Center messages now have expiration dates
• Message Center is now sorted by resident last name
• We now support future dates in reports
• Major system backup improvements
• Video Calling update*

 
Como 5.0.2 (Touchscreen software)

• The check-in button disappears immediately when pressed
• Support for ZWave AeonLabs/Aeotec Gen5 sensors
• Switched to Chromium-based browser engine
• Skype removed
• More than 20 bugs fixed, including many audio-related ones
• Video calling update*

* Since Microsoft withdrew support for Skype, we broadened the scope of our own video platform. Watch this short video to see how it works.

 

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’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

GrandCare Gets Its Kicks on Route 66

“If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.”

GrandCare is headed to western Illinois for this year’s Healthy Living Expo with GrandCare affiliate Gray Matters Alliance. This one-day event, held on May 19, is a great place to have fun, get facts on healthy living for seniors, and get free health screenings. And it’s a good place to learn more about GrandCare by stopping at Table 19.

But wait, there’s more! The event is being held at Gateway Classic Cars which means that, in addition to this fun and informative expo, you can enjoy the classic car show. There will be hundreds of cars to look at and more than 100 vendors to visit.

And wait, there’s even more! There’s a free continental breakfast, complimentary lunch, entertainment, games, and more. Even a Patsy Cline impersonator! There’s also free transportation. (Call 800-326-3221 for pickup locations.)

“It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six.”

So, if you’re winding down Route sixty-six, or any highway, be sure to stop in at Gateway Classic Cars at 1237 Central Park Drive, in O’Fallon, Illinois. Get healthy, and enjoy the car show.

The event is sponsored by AgeSmart Community Resources. AgeSmart works to help older adults remain independent in their homes and communities. Through planning, funding, responding to community needs and providing answers on aging, AgeSmart Community Resources helps people age well their way.

Healthy Living Expo
Sponsored by AgeSmart Community Resources
May 19, 2017
At Gateway Classic Cars
1237 Central Park Dr
O’Fallon, IL
Table 19
Expo open 8:30am to 12:30pm
More information

Gray Matters Alliance was established to create empathy, patience and tolerance towards the elder population. They are committed to offering peace of mind for families while allowing their loved ones to remain engaged and maintain their dignity and at the same time provide caregivers with additional resources to do their jobs more effectively and compassionately. Find out more at their website (www.graymattersalliance.com.)

Finding the Perfect Home For Your Senior Years

GrandCare welcomes guest blogger Jim Vogel. Recently Jim’s mother realized it had become difficult to manage living in and maintaining her home. So, the search for a new, senior-friendly home for her began. As he helped her with the search, he learned a lot about what to consider when buying a home for an elderly person, and he wanted to share his expertise. Welcome, Jim. And thanks!

You’ve entered retirement – your golden years – and you’re living in a big house that’s getting a expensive to heat and cool each season and difficult to care for and keep up.

That’s why so many seniors are downsizing from their old, big house into one that’s smaller, cheaper, and easier to live in. That can mean a literal house, or it could refer to a condo or retirement community patio house. Either way, here are some tips for finding the perfect home for your senior years.

Simplify Your New Life

It can be hard leaving behind your old home. After all, it’s your home. It’s full of memories and love. But that big house made sense to buy when you were younger. You had a family to shelter, and you had the income for it. With your income reduced by retirement, paying those ghastly utility bills can be a problem.

What should you look for in your new home? Here are a few things:

  • Because mobility can be a problem as you get older, go with a home or condo that doesn’t have any stairs. A few steps can be okay, but definitely keep to a one-level home or a condo with an elevator.
  • Not all condos are in giant buildings. You should be able to find patio homes: small houses in communities, often sharing a wall. These are often less expensive than a new home, and they can have great amenities like a community pool or tennis court.
  • Look for a house that’s very well taken care of. The last thing you need after making the move into your new home is costly repairs. Find owners that take great care of their home.

Watch Out For Common Mistakes

Although buying a new home as a senior is not complicated, there are some mistakes people often make that you should avoid.

The biggest is not going into this with a plan. Instead of just trying to find a cute, small house, think about all that you’ll be leaving behind. Then try to find that in your new house. In fact, one great idea is to spend a few days in the new town. There’s no better way of making sure your new home will be located in a great community.

Be careful about putting too much money down. You’ll need cash in your first few years, and all seniors need access to a financial reserve in case illness or injury strikes. Besides, you may have to make some emergency repairs to a new home.

Lastly, don’t forget to think about your future there. For example, you’re probably having no problem driving these days. But you know how that can change. If you buy a home in the typical suburban development, the nearest grocery store could be miles away.

Preparing That New Home For You

It’s impossible to find the perfect home. That means you’ll almost definitely need to modify your new house to accommodate your needs.

Make sure all steps and stairs have solid handrails. Then, install some grab rails in your bathroom as well. If there are area rugs, secure them to the floor so they are not a trip hazard anymore. Check the lighting at night. As your vision starts to get worse, a bright area with contrasting colors can make a huge difference.

You should also consider a home monitoring system like GrandCare. It can stay connected with loved ones, while it helps you monitor your wellness and encourages a social and active lifestyle. It provides tools to help you manage your medications, calendar appointments, and daily routines.

Your New Home Is Waiting For You

Just because you’re in your senior years doesn’t mean you can’t handle this. You just need to make a good plan that includes picking the right home in the right community.

Jim Vogel is the co-founder of ElderAction.org, an organization that provides resources to adult children and caregivers who are caring for senior parents. He is passionate about spreading awareness of improving senior living.

Image Source: Pixabay

Family. The Sweetest Mother’s Day Gift of All

Mother’s Day can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, but the more modern day precursor was in the mid-1800’s with the formation of “Mother’s Day Work Clubs,” helping women with childcare. Post-Civil War, these clubs became peace organizations to promote reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers. And in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

GrandCare: The Sweetest Mother's Day Gift of AllMost celebrate Mother’s Day with flowers, chocolates, family events and maybe even brunch. This Mother’s Day why not offer mom the greatest gift of all, the gift that keeps giving, the gift of family communication. GrandCare is the gift of constant family socialization, photo sharing, Facebook integration, video chatting, games, trivia, weather, news reports and more. The best part is that Mom doesn’t have to know anything at all about computers or Facebook in order to take full advantage of the rich memories.

Use Code “MD2017” for a $200 discount on a GrandCare System for your mother. Only two systems per customer. Offer expires May 31st. Only available online. (www.grandcare.com)

“More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.”

You get the peace of mind that comes with easy, non-intrusive activity monitoring. It also brings the more distant family members right to her touchscreen, so they don’t feel left out. Not only that, but if your mom is managing a chronic health condition at home, GrandCare can help with that, too. From on-screen medication reminders, to automatically recording her vitals every day, GrandCare never forgets.

To make it easy, we’ll even give you a sweet Mother’s Day deal. From now until May 31st, if you order a GrandCare System online, use discount code “MD2017” and save $200. (www.grandcare.com)

This could be the greatest Mother’s Day gift ever. So let Mom enjoy Facebook photos from the entire family on her GrandCare System, play some card games, and place one-touch video calls to the grandchildren. And you can still do brunch, too.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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