Tag Archive for: assistive technology

Man brushing teeth

10 Things Disability Care Management Professionals Need to Know About Enabling Technologies

As a disability support professional, you already know a lot about enabling technologies. You may also know that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote support technology. Not only does remote supports and virtual visits keep supported people safe, it also has the benefit of helping with the current staff shortage so many agencies are experiencing. It also increases the independence and self-esteem of supported people.

What Are Enabling Technologies?

Enabling technologies are equipment or methodologies that support individuals’ independence in their homes. Devices can be as simple as a medication dispenser, a personal emergency response system, a smartwatch or smart fridge. Or, you may decide to opt in for a more fully-featured and robust solution like GrandCare Systems. GrandCare’s intuitive touchscreen interface provides your resident with self-supporting features such as cognitive assists, medication reminders, to-do task lists, routine check-ins, concierge service ordering and simple video chat features. Optional motion/door, lighting and telehealth sensors can be added to GrandCare for your staff to remotely monitor and assess the well-being of the resident.

But, how do you even get started? How does it work? What technology should you use? How would you actually integrate technology into your existing workflow model? These are all valid and important questions to answer. Here are 10 things disability support and aging service professionals should know about choosing enabling technologies for your organization.

What You Need to Know About Enabling Technologies

1. Assistive technology can mitigate staffing shortages.

Remote support technology allows fewer staff to support more people from a central location. Using a remote support model reduces windshield time and the time your staff spends waiting in someone’s home until such time they are needed. With GrandCare, your staff is engaged only when support is required. This allows fewer staff to support more people, plus the assistive technology can even help your residents to help and support themselves.

2. Investing in technology can save you money with a quicker ROI than you may expect.

In a study from Xavier University’s Department of Occupational Therapy, remote patient monitoring and telehealth technologies including the flagship platform, GrandCare Systems, showed increased client independence, reduced in-person caregiving hours, and cut staffing costs dramatically. LADD, a Cincinnati non-profit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, opened a smart home for four people in 2020. The Xavier study showed that LADD was able to safely reduce in-person caregiving hours by 75%. Prior to GrandCare and remote monitoring technologies, the cost of supporting these four people was $5,260 per week. Supportive technologies slashed the support costs by over 50% to only $2,607 per week. This represents a cost savings of $2,653 per week. That’s $137,941 per year. LADD was able to recoup the cost of all of their smart home technology (yes, even including the smart fridge and sensory relaxation room) in only 9 months.

3. Assistive technology allows your staff to shift focus to residents with higher support needs.

Most agencies have residents that don’t need 24/7 in-person staff support and some that always will. Why not save your limited staff for those who really need it and use assistive technology to help support those who can support themselves? Automated cognitive assists, such as notifications to brush teeth or take medication, can be provided on GrandCare’s touchscreen and be checked off by the resident. When your staff doesn’t need to be physically present at all locations, they can devote more time to individuals with high support needs.

4. Technology can reduce demand avoidance.

Providers have shared anecdotal stories about residents who were often non-compliant and exhibited problematic behaviors while receiving in-person staff support. But when they began using GrandCare’s assistive technology to nudge the residents on daily tasks and med reminders, it empowered the resident’s independence and self-esteem, plus many of those behaviors largely disappeared. This new way of receiving support put the individual in the driver’s seat and gave them the autonomy they desired.

5. The residents LOVE to interact with it, resulting in better outcomes!

In order to fully succeed with self-supporting technology, it needs to be intuitive, engaging and fun to use. That’s why the GrandCare touchscreen includes engagement features including games, jokes, workout videos, music, live radio, audio books and on-demand video chat. Plus, systems can be customized based on the supported person’s interests like sports, art, religion and food.

6. Enabling technology supports in-person staff.

Even people who receive much of their support remotely sometimes need in-person staff time. While your DSP is present in the residence, they can use the GrandCare touchscreen to check in, document how long they were there, which services they provided, and leave notes about their visit for the next onsite caregiver (also accessible remotely to the rest of the support team).

7. Data collected can be used as a tool to see patterns and provide better support.

GrandCare is a fully-featured telehealth platform. GrandCare can monitor glucose, blood pressure, weight, temperature and oxygenation. It can prompt a supported person to take a required biometric reading, and then wirelessly track, trend and record it for the remote support team. Graphs of health data can be reviewed by the support team so that problematic readings can be addressed before they become health emergencies.

8. It can provide a sense of community.

GrandCare has several community-enhancing features. Supported individuals with a common interest can receive curated content and event notifications. A Community can be about anything: stargazing, movie buffs, people with diabetes, or everyone who lives in a specific location. Community messaging and calendaring and photo sharing are available. If you choose, you can even enable video chats between touchscreens.

9. Smart assistive technology can decrease alarm fatigue for your staff.

Only be alerted when something needs your attention. GrandCare can be programmed to only send alerts based on set parameters. For example, staff could be notified of unusual activities like the front door being opened in the middle of the night, or if there isn’t motion in the kitchen at mealtime. You can also set up telehealth alerts if a health reading is “out of range”. Used in this way, GrandCare becomes a “no news is good news” system since staff are only notified when intervention is truly needed.

10. GrandCare can streamline the process.

Some of the things GrandCare does can be done with other devices, but it does one thing that none of them can: it puts them all on one interactive platform. So now your self-empowering supports, activity monitoring, telehealth monitoring, video check-ins and med reminders are all in one place for easy management.

Want to learn more? Contact GrandCare for a free demo and consultation.

Caregiver with mentally challenged senior man

Disability Care Staffing Solutions: How Enabling Technologies Are Solving the Provider Shortage

While many disability service providers struggle with staffing shortages, some are finding solutions to mitigate the problem, cutting costs and increasing independence and outcomes for their residents using enabling technologies.

We recently hosted an engaging discussion with three leaders from organizations utilizing enabling technologies such as GrandCare during our webinar, Combatting DSP Staffing Shortages with Assistive Technology. Our guest speakers included Brian Hart, the COO of LADD and the CEO of ShiftAbility, and Heather Weitz and Christine Gilbertson of Wisconsin-based provider, Opportunity Inc.

LADD is an agency in Ohio that, four years ago, wanted to use technology-enabled supports to change the way they delivered services. As they looked to solve a staff shortage, they devised a Smart Living model. “The Smart Living model is not just a piece of technology or software, it’s a new way of delivering services using technology first, value-added supports, a way we assess staff, cultural methodology of inclusive services, and a whole bunch of different models.” Out of that bore ShiftAbility, a consulting arm, as a way to share how to implement these models for other organizations.

A smart home uses technology like GrandCare touchscreens, sensors, health devices and med dispensers that work as a support system and other home technologies like smart refrigerators and stoves.

“There’s never going to be enough people to provide the support. If you want to provide more supports, you have to do it a different way.” Brian Hart.

Opportunity Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin that provides supports in AFH (adult family home) settings and community supportive living settings. Heather and Christina work in the community supportive living program.

“GrandCare has given us a way to actually implement self-sufficiency. Instead of just having staff come in, teach them something and 20 minutes after we walk about the door they completely forget everything that we went through, with GrandCare we’re able to upload videos and add reminders. This has been a huge way that GrandCare has helped us get to the independent living skills and maintain those independent living skills,” said Christina.

A GrandCare system is a remote monitoring and remote support platform on a stationary 17-inch touchscreen that can be set on a countertop or mounted on a wall. The touchscreen can deliver cognitive assists in the form of reminders for ADLs, medication, calendar appointments and much more. It can connect with motion sensors in the home and health devices such as pulse oximeters. Notification rules, simple if-then statements, can be customized for each individual and their support team. The touchscreen provides secure video calls, plus the system includes games, live radio and other entertainment features.

“It helps with staffing as well. We have some clients in their own homes that just need us to go check that they took their medications. Now they can mark off that they did it, and if we need a visual we can video chat instead of having somebody go over. Some of them like that because they want their privacy,” said Heather.

Christina added that many of their high functioning clients use a button on the touchscreen to check in for the night, which sends a notification to the staff that they’re safe at home, and that allows the staff to focus on the people who they need to be physically present for.

“They like that they feel more independent. Instead of coming to us all the time they can go on to their own GrandCare system and look for their schedules, see if they have doctor appointments or when the staff might be coming, and what they’re going to be doing with staff that day.” Heather Weitz

What’s the ROI on Assistive Technology?

The first LADD smart home was part of a two-year study by Xavier University. Researchers set out to measure “occupational performance” (the ability to do everyday tasks without help), resident satisfaction, and the cost of care in the new smart home setting. The results were remarkable. LADD was able to safely reduce direct caregiving hours by an astonishing 75%. This had a profound impact on the cost of care. Prior to GrandCare and remote monitoring technologies, the cost of supporting these individuals was $5,260 per week. Supportive technologies slashed the support costs by over 50% to only $2,607 per week.

“The technology ROI is less than nine months. It’s getting even faster now as we get more efficient,” said Brian. “Each year we’re able to do more with the same amount of resources.”

Learn More

Want to learn more about the GrandCare technology, choosing residents, setting up tech, staff training and funding? You can view the recording of our webinar.

“The big issues we have in our field are staffing, funding and transportation. We can solve for a lot of staffing and funding using technology.” Brian Hart

Have questions or would like to see a free demo? Contact us.

Combatting DSP Staffing Shortages with Assistive Technology Wed May 3, 2023 12pm ET

Combatting DSP Staffing Shortages with Assistive Technology

GrandCare is teaming up with ShiftAbility, LADD and disability service provider Opportunity Inc. to provide a free educational webinar on how technology can help with staffing shortages on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Are you struggling with staffing? Are your recruiting initiatives falling short of your goals? Are you seeing an increase in need with a reduced caregiving team?

You are not alone.

Many disability service providers are understandably focused on dealing with the staffing crisis and have little time to explore things like assistive self-directed technology and remote supports. But what if you could solve your staffing issue and provide better and more cost-effective care through technology?

Xavier University’s Department of Occupational Therapy conducted a study of LADD’s smart home in 2020. The results indicated that remote patient monitoring and telehealth technologies including the flagship platform, GrandCare Systems, increased client independence, reduced in-person caregiving hours, and cut staffing costs by 75%. This helped with LADD’s staffing shortage, not to mention the profound impact it had on the cost of care.

Want to know how you can implement this kind of technology? Join us for our free webinar as we walk you through steps you can take to not only minimize the effect of low staff numbers and incorporate assistive/remote technology, but also increase independence and better outcomes for your residents in a way that could actually save you money. Hear about real-life examples from other providers, such as LADD’s smart living program, ask questions, and more. Provider attendees will receive a one-time special discount for purchasing GrandCare Systems. Contact GrandCare for more details.

We will cover:

  • Choosing your technology
  • Installation
  • Resident selection & training
  • How to set up onsite/remote staff supports
  • Funding sources
  • And more

Laura Mitchell, CEO of GrandCare Systems
Brian Hart, COO LADD & CEO ShiftAbility
Heather Weitz, DSP, Opportunity Inc.
Christina Gilbertson, DSP, Opportunity Inc.

Wednesday, May 3rd
9am PT/12p ET

You can’t afford to miss this! Open to all. Register now.

Funding a Technology-Based Service Delivery Model: ID/DD Providers

As a provider interested in serving more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, you are now seriously considering a shift to a technology-based service delivery model. So, here’s the million-dollar question: how do you get funding for it?

Look into paying for it via a Medicaid waiver. One provider charged $1,000 a month per person living in a smart home powered by GrandCare technology, and was able to get 90% of the fee reimbursed through a waiver, with the rest supported through fundraising and grants. Of course, waivers might be different where you operate, so find out what your state provides. For instance, look for phrases like “assistive technology” on your state’s list of waivers from the Medicaid website. To get answers to all of your waiver questions, it can be very helpful to talk directly with someone from the state, e.g. the county board, or service and support administration.

There are times when a waiver is not currently available in a state, in which case a grant may be the way to go, at least initially. Your state might be offering grants for projects as innovative as what you’re thinking of doing, especially if benefits have been seen in other states. With this funding, you can run a small pilot that not only provides your organization with the evidence for the effectiveness of your technology-based service delivery model, but also paves the way for the state to develop a long-term waiver.

The lack of a waiver did not stop one provider from shifting to a technology-based service delivery model. With private pay, they ran a pilot that ultimately demonstrated that they can reduce in-person support hours while demonstrating better outcomes for their residents: greater success in doing their ADLs independently, and greater satisfaction. Now, their state’s director is eager to connect with other states’ directors to explain the benefit they’re seeing. This is because it can be eye-opening for a state agency to learn that under a technology-based service delivery model, staff are not being removed from a situation, but simply interacting in a different way; they can actually be there more often, via virtual means!

LADD, Inc., a Cincinnati-based disability support provider, was able to safely reduce in-person support hours by 75%, cutting the total cost of support for residents in half.

Your technology-based service delivery model can save the system hundreds of thousands of dollars while still providing you with the margin you need to provide your service. And yes, you’ll be able to provide service to more people, which is why we’re in this in the first place.

GrandCare remote support technology improves the lives of those with disabilities in the U.K.

The use of remote monitoring and remote support technology in residential settings grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what started as a necessity for infection control purposes, has now proven to remain beneficial in many ways. Many people have discovered that receiving the majority of their support remotely is a far more independent experience than having a live person in your home. It is also vastly less expensive.

Cognitive assists, such as medication and activity of daily living reminders that can be added to GrandCare’s touch screen, allow people with disabilities to be successfully independent and yet still receive the support they need.

Video chats allow users to communicate with family, friends and caregivers. And when face-to-face support is needed, a quick video call is a very efficient way to provide it.

“Earlier this year we invested in Grandcare, an innovative communication tool which we are piloting for three years. Six months on, it is proving invaluable in helping people with autism to live independently. It is personalized and can schedule a routine for a person, reminding them to get up, shower, have lunch or when to take their medication. It can also help them stay in touch with friends and family through video calls,” said a spokesperson from Bolton Cares.

“Our mission is to help people to live the life they want their way and technology is helping us achieve this daily.”

Sophie’s Story

Bolton Cares offers person-centered care to people with autism, complex learning and physical disabilities, older people and people with dementia.

Want to know more about GrandCare? Set up a demo with us.


Image courtesy of BOLTON CARES

How to Address Staffing Shortages with Remote Monitoring Technology

Disability and aging service providers are facing an increased need for care while also dealing with record staff shortages. These organizations are turning to technology solutions like GrandCare to continue serving clients in need without having to onboard more staff.

New Technology Features for Remote Monitoring and Support

With over 16 years of building and developing, GrandCare is the most comprehensive and robust technology designed to make remote caregiving more seamless, proactive and affordable. Most recently, GrandCare has built out specific features to serve the disability services market, in addition to the aging and post-acute marketplaces they already serve.

GrandCare now offers community GC touchscreens in addition to the individualized touchscreens in private rooms. These community screens go in public areas of the residence and can offer public messaging and one touch video call options to remote support providers. They also mirror resident touchscreens and discreetly remind residents if a task is due (such as medication or another to-do reminder).

Supported individuals can choose how to receive reminders at home or on the go by text message, colored light prompts or on their personal GrandCare touchscreens.

“GrandCare has created a product to directly support professional care organizations, while improving the health and happiness of the individual,” says GrandCare CEO, Laura Mitchell. “Now that we have seen proven success and reduction in cost and hands-on hours, we make it our mission to directly support each of our clients to ensure long term success and savings.”

To support multiple remote care staff and ensure accountability, GrandCare has created a more robust ‘Managed Alerts’ option for claiming alerts and documenting the resolution.

“The GrandCare Managed Alerts help our staff prioritize the most critical needs for the people they serve. For one person, certain sensor activity is expected, but for someone else it could show a support need. The managed alerts make that distinction.” – Hannah E., LADD

Funding and Implementation of Remote Monitoring Technology

While many organizations are on board with the new technology, some questions remain on funding, the new remote staffing model and how to successfully implement. GrandCare can help address all of these questions in an upcoming implementation-focused webinar for aging and disability service providers.

We will be hosting this free webinar Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, from 3-4pm ET in response to the demand for assistive technology for disability smart homes and senior communities. Plus, attendees who join will receive a special limited time discount code for 5 free GrandCare Systems (terms apply).

Remote Monitoring and Remote Support Webinar

The Remote Monitoring & Remote Support Roadmap webinar will cover:

  • Personnel, including a project manager and participating support staff
  • Identifying and evaluating the home and installation environment
  • Determining who is a good candidate for remote monitoring and support
  • Assessing individual needs and mapping them to technology
  • Staffing the gaps
  • Training (supported person, natural supports, DSPs)
  • Staffing ratios and how to staff remote support
  • Setting up an on-call visit team for when in-person support is needed

Register online: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN___F2FVT8S1q9CxZoOytT5w

How to Best Implement Assistive Technology for Disability Smart Homes

About three years ago, GrandCare was approached by a Cincinnati-based disability support provider called LADD. They told us they wanted to completely reinvent their service delivery model using technology, and they asked us if we would help them do it. We said yes.

We worked with LADD and some of the people they support to develop new features and functionality specifically designed for the intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) population in community supported living settings. Then, about two years ago, four men moved into a brand new smart home–a home that had a GrandCare touchscreen in every room. These young men had never lived without supervision before, and weren’t sure they could.

That was two years ago, and the guys who moved into that house are still there today, living independently and loving it. They, and the smart home they live in, constitute an incredible success story.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Researchers at Xavier University followed the project from the beginning and have now published their incredible findings. The highlights include:

  • LADD was able to safely reduce in-person support hours by 75%
  • This cut the total cost of support in half
  • The technology in the smart home paid for itself in under 9 months

Is your organization interested in replicating these results? You’re going to want to talk to the people who did it first: GrandCare and LADD. That is why we are co-hosting a free webinar on August 17th, 2022. Representatives from both organizations will be discussing everything we’ve learned along the way, and also the findings of the Xavier study.

Register now for this free, one-of-a-kind webinar.

Assistive Technology ROI for Disability Providers

Assistive Technology ROI for Disability Providers

Free Zoom Webinar
August 17, 1:00pm ET (12:00pm CT)
Register at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NrUHRoeARTuNDm2NpvRi2w

About GrandCare

GrandCare is a large touchscreen that can improve the lives of developmentally disabled individuals, as well as the disability support providers they depend on. GrandCare provides cognitive assists, remote activity monitoring and virtual visits that helps people with disabilities stay safe, social and independent. Learn more about GrandCare’s assistive technology for disabilities at our site.

GrandCare Technology for Disabilities Leads to Increased Independence, 50% Reduction in Costs

Xavier University Releases Study on Technology for Disabilities

GrandCare Technology for Disabilities Leads to Increased Independence, 50% Reduction in Costs

A blockbuster new study from Xavier University’s Department of Occupational Therapy showed that remote patient monitoring & telehealth technologies including the flagship platform, GrandCare Systems, increased client independence, reduced in-person caregiving hours, and cut the staffing costs dramatically.

LADD, a Cincinnati-area non-profit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), built a newly constructed “smart home” outfitted with several enabling monitoring and security technologies. In the fall of 2020, four young men moved into the new residence. None of them had ever lived independently, especially without overnight supervision.

Each person has a personal GrandCare touchscreen System for reminders, daily schedule, personal health readings and to video connect with family and staff. Additional motion and activity monitoring sensors can alert remote staff if additional help is needed. Smart appliances, relaxation stations and voice technology are also included in the smart home.

Researchers at Xavier set out to measure “occupational performance” (the ability to do everyday tasks without help), resident satisfaction, and the cost of care in the new smart home setting. The results were remarkable.

One of the metrics used in the study was success in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). These include tasks such as: bathing, dressing, and eating, but also financial management, shopping and meal preparation. The technologies “allowed for residents to perform more of their ADLs and IADLs successfully, with less supervision.” Not only that, but technology-assisted care brought “increases in participants’ self-ratings of performance and satisfaction.”

The men in the smart home were able to do more things independently, for themselves, which led to higher feelings of self worth and satisfaction.

75% Reduction in caregiving hours

The study also found that LADD was able to safely reduce direct caregiving hours by an astonishing 75%. This had a profound impact on the cost of care. Prior to GrandCare and remote monitoring technologies, the cost of supporting these individuals was $5,260 per week.

Annual cost savings of $137,941

Supportive technologies slashed the cost by almost 50% to only $2,607 per week. This represents a cost savings of more than 50%, or $2,653 per week. That’s $137,941 per year. LADD was able to pay off all of the smart home technology in less than a year, in 36.7 weeks.

The study also found that LADD was able to safely reduce direct caregiving hours by an astonishing 75%. This had a profound impact on the cost of care. Prior to GrandCare and remote monitoring technologies, the cost of supporting these individuals was $5,260 per week. Supportive technologies slashed the support costs by over 50% to only $2,607 per week. This represents a cost savings of $2,653 per week. That’s $137,941 per year. LADD was able to recoup the cost of all smart home technology in less than a year– just 36.7 weeks.

Read the Full Xavier Study Here

Assistive Technology ROI for Disability Providers

Would you like to increase independence among the people you support? Would you like to do it while safely reducing in-person support hours? How about cutting costs in half? You can do all of these things.

We at GrandCare Systems and LADD, Inc., the technology and support organizations behind the 2020 smart home project in Cincinnati, are offering a free webinar August 17 at 1pm to share what we’ve learned. Not only that, but we will be sharing the findings of a two year study on the project by researchers at Xavier University.

We will cover:
• Best Practices
• Staff Reduction
• Cost Savings

Free Zoom Webinar
August 17, 1:00pm ET (12:00pm CT)
Register at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NrUHRoeARTuNDm2NpvRi2w

More about GrandCare

GrandCare devices

GrandCare is a large intuitive and personalized touchscreen that provides residence-wide cognitive assists, tasks, and schedules. GrandCare also enables easy access to remote support with one touch video calls. It integrates with a wide range of remote activity monitoring sensors and telehealth devices that can alert designated caregivers if support is needed. It’s great for single occupant residences and for homes with multiple supported people. Providing support through GrandCare can enable greater independence for those already in community supported living, and it can often graduate individuals to a new level of independence.

If you would like to explore adopting GrandCare in your disability or aging services support organization please reach out to us at sales@grandcare.com or (262) 337-6147.