GrandCare Blog

GrandCare Systems hosts free webinar series on successful technology integration in care models

GrandCare Systems hosts free webinar series on successful technology integration in care models

Arguably the segment of our society that has most strongly felt the impact of COVID-19 is in the aging services industry. Almost overnight, senior housing communities and in-home care providers realized they had an urgent need for virtual technologies, telehealth, virtual caregiving, and video conferencing, to help their residents remain sheltered in place. To help organizations understand, plan, and make the best decisions, GrandCare announced the launch of a new webinar series this June titled, “Technology-Powered Caregiving.”

This informational 3-part webinar series will help you discover the latest and greatest products available to help you and your clients with social engagement, telehealth, remote activity monitoring, cognitive assist and family coordination technologies, with a specific focus on the disabled and older adult population. The series will cover issues such as how to choose technology platforms, the groundwork and infrastructure, if any, needed to get started, and best practices for successful integration into your existing workflow procedures.

Registration is required for these free webinar sessions, which include:

  • June 18th: Technology-Empowered Living for People with Developmental Disabilities (12pm CT) Register
  • June 26: Connected Residents & Telehealth Programming for Senior Housing and Long-Term Care Communities (11am CT) Register
  • July 1: Virtual Caregiving & Telehealth In Professional In-Home Care. How, Why and ROI.  (1pm CT) Register

“In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, particularly how we perceive aging, healthcare and caregiving services,” said GrandCare CEO Laura Mitchell. “This webinar series will explore the various technology options from video chat to remote patient monitoring to telehealth visits. We will discuss how to implement, and we will have organizations speak about their own successful practices. We think you’ll find it invaluable.”

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For more information about GrandCare, visit:, call 262-­338-6147, or send an email to:

Should Seniors Buy or Rent Their Home Hospital Bed?

Should Seniors Buy or Rent Their Home Hospital Bed?

To many seniors, home hospital beds offer comfort, convenience, and safety that consumer beds cannot match. The head, foot, and height adjustments simplify the nighttime chores of getting into bed and arranging oneself in a comfortable or medically advised sleeping position.

To other seniors, a home hospital bed is a medical necessity. Without its adjustments and accessories, they would not be able to convalesce or receive treatment in their home. They would have no option but to stay in a hospital or care facility.

In both cases, seniors have to decide how to pay for their home hospital bed. Sophisticated adjustable beds with head, foot, height, and tilt power adjustments are more expensive than consumer-grade beds. The highest-quality beds may not be covered by health insurance and are not covered by Medicare, in which only a limited number of durable medical equipment suppliers participate. The availability of Medicaid for durable medical equipment varies from state to state.

The remaining options are to rent or to buy. Hospital bed suppliers are happy to sell directly to consumers. Hospital bed rental agencies exist across the U.S.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of buying and renting home hospital beds. Because funding a home hospital bed with health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid is so complex and variable, we’re going to focus purely on self-funded buying or renting in this article.

The Advantages of Buying a Home Hospital Bed

The most significant advantage of buying a home hospital bed is choice. When you buy, you are free to choose a bed that fits your requirements and budget.

You aren’t limited by the selection available in a rental agency’s catalog. You choose which adjustments the bed has, its design, and the accessories it includes. The best manufacturers customize beds for individual customers, offering even more choice.

Buying may cost less than renting over the long term. A home hospital bed costs several thousand dollars, and the upfront cost of buying is higher. But the upfront cost is all you pay. Renting a bed, in contrast, ties you to a contract with monthly payments that add up quickly. If a bed is rented for more than a few months, the total cost is likely to exceed the cost of buying.

When you buy a custom bed, it is your bed. That might seem obvious, but rental agencies limit how their beds are used and customized. A bed that you own is yours to do with as you please. You aren’t beholden to the restrictions and penalties that accompany a rental agreement.

The Disadvantages of Buying

In the previous section, we said that buying is better because it is cheaper over the long-term. That isn’t much of an advantage if you can’t afford to pay upfront. Renting allows people who need a home hospital bed to spread the cost over the lifetime of the bed, benefiting from features they would otherwise have to do without.

Buying is also less appealing for people who only need the bed for a short time. If a senior who is otherwise healthy needs an adjustable bed while they recover from an operation or injury, short-term rental may be the most economical option.

Buying offers more flexibility when initially deciding which bed you need. But, once you have bought the bed, you are stuck with your choice. For reasons of hygiene and health, bed manufacturers are rarely willing to take back a bed if you change your mind. When you rent, you’re free to return or exchange the bed once the initial rental period ends.

The Advantages of Renting a Home Hospital Bed

In addition to spreading the cost, renting is also useful if you want to try a bed before committing to a purchase. If you aren’t sure that a home hospital bed is a right choice for you or your loved one, renting gives you the flexibility to change your mind without a substantial financial penalty.

The Disadvantages of Renting

We have already mentioned that renting is less expensive in the short term but more costly in the long term. A rental bed of reasonable quality might cost $400 per month with a set-up fee of $100. An equivalent bed might cost $3,000 to buy. Rental payments exceed the cost of buying in around seven months.

The exact balance depends on the bed and how long it will be in service, but if you’re tempted to rent, it’s well worth working out how much it’s going to cost to rent compared to buying outright or even borrowing to buy.

Another limitation of renting is the quality and range of available beds. Beds are selected by rental agencies to maximize profit and minimize costs such as delivery and maintenance. Consequently, rental beds are rarely as sophisticated or feature-rich as those sold directly to consumers. Rental is unlikely to provide a home hospital bed with the best quality of manufacturing and range of features.

Finally, rented beds are not new beds. Unless you are lucky enough to be the first renter, your bed will have been used before, perhaps by many different patients. Rental agencies clean and disinfect beds before they are sent to a new renter, but the bed’s motors and mechanical components have a limited life and may wear out. Beds may also have damaged paint and other age and use related damage.

In Conclusion

The decision to rent or buy depends on your circumstances and what you expect from your home hospital bed. Renting is an excellent option for seniors who need a bed immediately but who can’t afford to pay the full price. However, if you can pay upfront, buying gives you access to a greater range of beds with more advanced features and lower long-term costs.


Author Bio

Aaron Goldsmith is the Founder of Transfer Master, which manufactures custom electric adjustable hospital beds for home and medical use.

Telemedicine, Remote Monitoring, and Virtual Visits Are The Way Forward in the Age of COVID-19

Telemedicine, Remote Monitoring, and Virtual Visits Are The Way Forward in the Age of COVID-19

Telemedicine: More Than Just a Good Idea

As telemedicine was slowly finding its way into the mainstream, something important, something fundamental, has changed. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, is the change agent. As I write this, it remains to be seen what the full impact of it will be in the United States and across the globe. One thing seems certain, though: The meteor has hit. The dinosaur way of doing things is over. The idea that you can do long-term care, in-home care, or even family caregiving in private homes without technology is over. It may not change overnight, but make no mistake, a sea change is underway. I know. I talk to leaders in this space every day. It’s what I do. And I can assure you: telemedicine is now.

The hard data is there to illustrate my point: nearly half of physicians in the US are now using telemedicine, up from 18% in 2018. For many years the senior care industry has collectively, if grudgingly, agreed that remote monitoring and telemedicine was a Good Idea. But for most of the decision-makers it remained only that: an idea. There were always reasons – cultural, regulatory, financial – that made them hold off. Not all, mind you. There were always visionaries whose farsightedness led them to become early adopters. For everyone else it’s been a hard sell. Sometimes it’s just difficult to do things in a new way until you absolutely have to. But now, that time has come.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

Telemedicine in the Age of COVID-19

Prior to COVID-19, nearly 60% of the nation’s employers already covered telemedicine in their employee policies. Now, that number is set to grow. Absent new data on employers, we can already see the changes taking place with Medicare, which has now begun to cover an increased range of telehealth services for a wider client base.

Hopefully, in a couple of years, we’ll all be receiving our COVID shots and that will be that. But the damage will have been done. It’s already been done. Everyone who has had to face going to the bank, or shopping for groceries, or talking to a doctor – which is to say, all of us – will insist on it. Likewise, everyone who has tried and failed to FaceTime mom in her assisted living apartment during a lockdown, will insist on it. “The building’s WiFi doesn’t have great coverage in the residential areas” isn’t going to cut it any longer. You may now file that under “U” for unacceptable.

In fact, we may as well admit that there can be no point of care–not at home, not in congregate living, or anywhere else–without good internet service. Grandma will have WiFi. That question, and others, feel very settled now that the meteor has landed. So goodbye dinosaur ways. It’s time for some new thinking to emerge.

In-Home Care in the Age of COVID-19

In-Home Care in the Age of COVID-19

If you are considering in-home care for a loved one, you are undoubtedly concerned about COVID-19. Caregivers often take on multiple clients, presenting opportunities for spreading infection. Even with full-time care, unless you have a live-in caregiver, this means a person coming into your loved one’s home on a daily basis and often involves direct physical contact.

In-Home Care: A Costly Proposition

If you are researching in-home care, you likely already know it can be costly from an economic perspective, with hourly rates ranging from $14 to $24, depending on the market in your area. With the emergence of COVID-19, hiring in-home care could have a high human risk as well. There now exists a trade-off between minimizing economic costs (by reducing hours) and reducing risk. A part-time caregiver who goes from home to home on a daily basis presents an increased risk of infection to both their customers and themselves. This is also a challenge for professional caregiving organizations to maintain healthy caregivers.

Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care

Assisted living is often viewed as a viable alternative to reduce the financial costs associated with in-home care. However, this of course increases risk of infection due to the number of people living and working in the congregate setting. Few states have any regulations regarding staff-to-resident ratios and a typical assisted living scenario involves a great amount of resident to resident and resident to staff interaction in a given day.

Another point to consider, aside from safety, is the fact that most people prefer to not leave their own homes. In fact, according to an AARP study, 90% of seniors preferred to stay home and 80% believed they would remain at home for life.

Not to mention that removing individuals from familiar surroundings and routines can cause great anxiety.

Medical vs. Non-Medical Home Care

An important part of making this decision is understanding the various levels of care available, which could have substantial financial implications. If your loved one has recently been discharged from the hospital or has short- or long-term medical needs, then medical home care or home health care will likely be required.

Medicare, as well as private insurance, will pay for some services, like visits by nurses, and speech and occupational therapists. When discharged from the hospital, Medicare will pay for a nurse, occupational and speech therapist for the senior at home, but only according to a doctor’s prescribed plan of care.

However, many older adults without major medical issues just need an extra bit of support and daily reminders, such as remembering to take medications, hydration reminders and easier communications with loved ones. GrandCare not only facilitates these tasks, but can also allow you to monitor your loved one’s activities and vitals, including blood pressure, body temperature, pulse oximetry readings, weight, blood sugar levels, and more. With GrandCare, you may be able to reduce the risk for infection by safely monitoring and empowering a loved one with telehealth technology.

Technology to the Rescue

As technology continues to evolve and a new generation of seniors are becoming more comfortable interacting with digital devices, there is an opportunity to harness technology to help seniors age in place, staying at home for as long as possible. GrandCare envisions a future where all are able to remain independent and connected to family and friends. We provide a full telehealth, activity monitoring, video visit and communications platform for seniors. See how our product can help your loved one maintain their independence longer!

Telehealth and Medicare: 4 Ways the COVID-19 Benefits Expansion Helps Seniors Stay Safe

As a response to COVID-19, Medicare has expanded its coverage of telehealth services, effective March 6, 2020, which will cover even more services in a wider variety of settings for an expanded population. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 epidemic is having a disproportionate impact on elderly people, an already vulnerable population, provoking major anxiety for these individuals’ loved ones and caregivers. Adding to this stress is the fact that seniors see the doctor much more frequently, risking exposure every time they make one of these essential trips. To help seniors stay safe during this crisis, Medicare has implemented four key changes.

1. Access Telehealth Anywhere

Previously, Medicare would only pay for telehealth services for those residing in rural areas. Patients seeking telehealth services were required to travel to a local medical facility to virtually visit with a health professional in a different location. Although this enables better access to specialty care, this would still require transportation and a physical visit which can both be problematic, specifically for the aging population.

Medicare Telehealth
Those restrictions have now been waived for the duration of the public health emergency (likely until the introduction of a vaccine), allowing seniors to visit their doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Under the new policy, benefits are expanded to include beneficiaries in all areas of the country. Given trends in telehealth, there is reason to believe these expanded benefits will continue after the epidemic has subsided.

Learn More

See how GrandCare’s secure, HIPAA compliant telehealth monitoring and virtual visit technology can help seniors take advantage of these new benefits!
telehealth and telemedicine

 2. No More Telehealth Co-Pays

Generally, the standard Medicare copayment and deductible would apply to telehealth visits. In this case, as an incentive for seniors to utilize these covered telemedicine services, common office visits, mental health counseling, and preventive health screenings are now available with no copay for those with Original Medicare. Therefore, telehealth and telemedicine technologies offer a safe and efficient opportunity for those on a fixed income to save money.

3. Expanded List of Telehealth Services

Before the pandemic, Medicare had covered 106 medical services via telehealth. Medicare has now added 85 additional services, including radiation treatment management, group psychotherapy, and speech/hearing therapy, to name a few. Have a look at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a full list of covered telehealth services.

4. No Need for Established Provider Relationship

Prior to COVID-19, patients were required to have a pre-existing relationship with a practitioner in order to be eligible for coverage under Medicare. Now, initial visits are covered as well. If a patient’s provider does not offer telemedicine services, this makes it easier to transition to a different provider who does.



List of Telehealth Services

Let's Talk

GrandCare provides a large touch-based platform that offers secure, encrypted, HIPAA compliant video chat along with telehealth and activity monitoring.
Remote Monitoring That Will Assist Caregivers

Remote Monitoring That Will Assist Caregivers

The advent of new technology is helping people that require some level of assistance stay independent in their homes longer. One of the technologies taking the market by storm is the GrandCare System. The GrandCare System is finding its way into a number of areas including residences, small group homes and even larger independent and assisted living facilities.

In a nut shell, GrandCare is a three level system. Level one provides a social interface for the end-user, level two is a health and wellness monitoring portion and level three monitors daily activity. Throw in basic home automation control and you have a fully interactive monitoring system that will provide the assistance that is needed by a large portion of the population.

With the rising cost of healthcare, we need to find new solutions that allow early detection of potential problems and address them prior to hospitalization. One hospital admittance and the system can be paid for. Also, with the average cost of assisted living topping $50,000 per year….the cost of a system can be absorbed in a number of months and extend the ability to stay at home for years. Couple a GrandCare System with a PERS and medication management system and the cost is still well below assisted living.

Level One

The first part of the Grandcare is the social interface. This portion of the system is designed to keep the user in touch with the world (even without knowing how to use a computer). It provides a central place for family to share things like photos and information. The system provides a touch screen computer and can also be connected to a TV. The touch screen allows the user to access pre-set internet sites, receive and send email, listen to music, play games and more. When not being used for an activity, the system will display; photos (that can be uploaded by family), trivia, weather, news headlines, daily reminders and other items that the family and user can designate.

Level Two

Level two is something we all need! It is the Health and Wellness side of the system. Via a wireless interface, the system will monitor weight, blood pressure and pulse-ox. The caregiver/family member can create rules so when the system detects changes, it will notify them via email, text message or a simple phone call. (More on rules later). The system will also monitor the glucose levels of the user. Combine all of the monitoring with a complete reporting system that generates reports that can be printed out and given to your doctor. This provides a much more detailed and lengthy look of the patient allowing the doctor to make better decisions then they can when they get that ten or fifteen minute snap shot when you are in for a check-up.

Level Three

Level three is designed to monitor the daily activity of the occupants of the home. It is a non evasive way of ensuring that they are ok. The system will monitor doors, windows, the refrigerator….basically, anything that can be opened. It will also look at motion, lack of motion or excessive motion in any area that is monitored. For example, if a person gets out of bed at 7AM every day, the system can be programmed to watch for no motion in the home between say, 6AM and 8AM indicating they didn’t get up. It can also monitor if a person is in bed or out of bed and how much they are moving around. By doing that, we can determine how well someone sleeps and if they are not sleeping well address it so they sleep better. The system will also advise caregivers and family members if someone is out of bed for an extended period at night, possibly indicating a problem. With the ability to monitor just about anything combined with the rules that can be created, you can create a truly safe environment.

Care Notes

This is an area for caregivers and family members that visit the user to perform assistance tasks, check on wellbeing or for any other reason they stop in. The care notes allow a person to enter basic notes. For example, a daytime caregiver may leave a note for the overnight caregiver saying that the resident has the flu so make sure they are drinking fluids. Or a daughter may stop by and notice that dad has a cut on his head from a fall so he needs to be checked on from time to time for the next 24 hours. All of the care notes can be reviewed from any computer with an internet connection and are also sent out via email at the end of the day to the people that you designate. This allows everyone to stay up to date as to what is going on.

The Rules

The GrandCare System allows rules to be setup by the caregiver or family members. This is an extremely flexible part of the system and very easy to modify as needs or areas of concern change. Some of the systems that are similar to GrandCare use Artificial Intelligence (AI). This allows the computer to set rules based on what it determines is the “normal activity” of the user. That works well providing that when the system is installed, the user has no existing conditions. The system may decide that something that is truly an issue is normal activity.
The rules in the GrandCare System can be setup to send a message via Text Message, Email or can use an automated voice and place a phone call to a designated person. You can also use any combination of the notifications. You can also use rules to cause something to happen in the home, say turn on a light. A few examples follow;
1) If no motion is detected between 7AM and 9AM send a text message to caregiver 1
2) If any door opens between 10PM and 6AM call caregiver 2
3) If person gets out of bed between 10PM and 7AM turn on the bathroom light
4) If a person is out of bed for more the 15 minutes between 10PM and 7AM, call caregiver 1
5) If a glucose reading is below 100, call the home and say “ Your blood sugar is low please drink orange juice”
The rules that can be created are almost endless and can be modified as needed. This allows the system to be customized to today and then changed to meet tomorrow’s needs.


You will want to work with a local and reputable authorized dealer. The system brings a lot of capabilities; however during setup and installation this can overwhelm and confuse the caregivers and family members. Plus, you want to get the most from the system. When the system is first installed, the dealer will help to determine the best layout of the sensors based on the individual needs and help setup the users and rules. Some dealers will have a follow-up meeting about two weeks after the installation to review rules, adjust sensors and make any changes that are needed now that the system has real data from day to day use. The dealer will charge a monthly fee that typically covers the monthly software license (charged by the manufacturer), the hosting for alert notification, software updates and sometimes on going service for hardware failure. Some dealers will even take care of rule changes, adding users and other ongoing software maintenance. Spend time with your dealer and ensure that they are a good fit for you and your family.
When all is said and done, this is a system that can greatly improve safety, independence and general daily life of the user. However, this is not a put it in and forget it system, you want to have the family(Children, Grandchildren, Cousins etc…no matter where they live) involved and keep the photos new and changing, sending emails to the user and keeping information fresh. This will help to keep someone who may be isolated from the rest of the world more active and involved.

About the author:

James Gleason is co-owner of JNL Technologies Inc, a company that is focused on safety systems both for the residential setting as well as assisted, independent and skilled care settings. James has spent the last 15 years working in this industry and serving our population

Solution to Distancing and Quarantine? How about Some Virtual Visits and Telehealth

Solution to Distancing and Quarantine? How about Some Virtual Visits and Telehealth

The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States makes this a difficult time for senior housing communities. The risk level may be unknown, but our focus is clear: keep our seniors safe, protected, and connected to loved ones.

Virtual visits can help alleviate loneliness and isolation in quarantined residents. Telemedicine and telehealth are obvious ways to reduce physical exposure while maintaining healthcare services. The more providers embrace technology in times like this, the safer everyone will be.

Time is of the essence, but it’s hard to fund and deploy telehealth and virtual visit technology for your residents quickly. That’s why we want to put GrandCare in your hands at cost so you can quickly and affordably implement these vital technologies.

Payment options are flexible.

Feel free to reach out to me directly for immediate support. Stay Safe.

Laura Mitchell
CEO, GrandCare Systems

GrandCare Offers Tech Tools for Aging Webinar Featuring Top Industry Experts Feb 21

GrandCare Offers Tech Tools for Aging Webinar Featuring Top Industry Experts Feb 21

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Medicare. This surge in the aging population comes with challenges. We simply don’t have the physical capability, nor can we afford to push the same traditional caregiving models. This is why professional caregivers and senior housing providers are turning to smart technologies to save on the costs of personal caregivers, enable independence, offset caregiver shortages and connect residents with family members.

Please join us for a free, educational webinar that challenges caregiving norms. It will cover the changing technology ecosystem, housing models, technology in long term care vs. private homes, and implementation best practices.

Speakers for webinar


Speakers include Laura Mitchell, CEO of GrandCare, Principal at Laura Mitchell Consulting; Laurie Orlov, Analyst & Founder, Age in Place Technology Watch; Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder, the Greenhouse Project, Eden Alternative and Minka; and Ryan Frederick, Founder & CEO, SmartLiving 360

What: Tools for Living: How Technology is Transforming the Experience of Independence Webinar
When: February 21, 2020 at 1:00pm ET
Where: Online
Cost: Free
To register, please visit: 

Turns out caregiving Technologies for Seniors have to actually work

Caregiving Technologies for Seniors

Over the last 50 years, senior living has been completely transformed by technology. In fact, care for elders wasn’t even included in Social Security benefits until 1965. This new coverage allowed seniors to leave “poorhouses” and move into new, albeit highly unregulated, privatized care facilities. In 1968, new regulations required skilled nursing facilities to provide 24 hour nursing services, meet building codes, and maintain specific care standards for all residents. Over the next 50 years, artificial hearts, the Internet, computers, and proactive and predictive advances in chronic disease management meant that people were living longer and healthier lives. This combination of conditions created the perfect environment for the connected health sector to rise.

Senior care providers across the country are demanding better and more cost-effective technologies to care for the elderly. There’s always a new sensor, wearable device, or notification system promising to make caregiving easier. Technology startups have recognized this market potential and are flooding the industry with new gadgets and apps every day. For those caregivers, children, and spouses actually looking after seniors, a rapidly changing landscape of new products makes it difficult to keep up.  Which ones really work?  Which ones are actually available and on the market today? Which ones are easy to use? This can result in feelings of “technology fatigue” and may actually contribute to lower quality care.

This is where GrandCare outshines the rest. GrandCare is the most comprehensive digital health and caregiver remote monitoring technology on the market. GrandCare has had a decade to build the most robust, user friendly platform designed by caregivers for caregivers.

Try it and you’ll see why everyone is joining the #grandcareworks revolution – because taking care of an aging loved one is hard, using faulty technology makes it harder. Don’t fall for false promises and new untested technologies.  Choose the known brand, GrandCare Systems because it actually works.

Ask about our direct to consumer, senior housing, in home care, hospital to home and end of life GrandCare programs! Contact us.

Laura Mitchell to Speak on Smart Home Installation Trends at CES 2020

Laura Mitchell to Speak on Smart Home Installation Trends at CES 2020

GrandCare’s CEO Laura Mitchell has been slated to speak at CES 2020 on the topic of smart home installation trends. Laura will be speaking alongside Manny Linhares, Director of Strategy at IoT, Legrand, with moderator Daniel Pidgeon, founder of Starpower, host Katye McGregor Bennett of Connecting Tech and Design, and Ricky Singh, Head of Products and Solutions at Curiosity IoT, Sprinton on Wednesday, January 8.

2020 Installation Trends for the Smart Home
Date: Wednesday, January 8, 11:30 – 12:30 PM
Room: Venetian, Level 4, Marcello 4406

Description: What are some of the trends installers will see in the smart home space for 2020? Innovations in eldercare, AV solutions, security and more are front and center for the year ahead. Explore the opportunities.

Attending CES 2020 and want to attend this session? Click here.
Need to register for CES 2020? Register here.

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