Resources

By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: March 17, 2017

How to find a home health aide with the right qualifications

Carelike offers a comprehensive and un-biased database of home health agencies that meet your needs for providing the highest level of quality care.

Locating the right home health care provider for yourself or a loved one requires finding someone with the qualifications that best suit your particular needs.  For most family, there are many needs to try to match to a care provider.

One of the current obstacles facing care seekers is the rise in demand for care providers. As the average lifespan of the general population continues to rise, more people will need care providers, which makes finding the right match more difficult. 

Current forecasts highlight this trend and predict even greater demand in the coming years. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected the employment outlook for home health aides to rise 38 percent between 2014 to 2024. This is more than five times the projected 7 percent rate for all occupations over the same time period. These numbers illustrate just how great the demand for home care providers will skyrocket. 

Major growth expected in the home health aide sector will create greater competition among care seekers who are all trying to get the best possible home health aide. What are the right qualifications for you or your loved one? 

 

As demand for caregivers increases, finding the right candidate will become more difficult.

As demand for care providers increases, finding the right candidate will become more difficult.

What kind of training do home health aides need?

Finding a care provider with the right home health aide training remains one of the biggest challenges when evaluating prospective home health agencies and their staff.

Depending on yours or your loved ones needs, the type of home health aide training you're looking for will vary. It might include assisting with housekeeping or other instrumental activities of daily life, such as cooking meals and facilitating transportation to doctors or leisure activities. In other scenarios, you might need a care provider to take vital signs, dress basic wounds, has specialized training in dementia or Alzheimer's, or even help with medication schedules. Regardless of your needs, though, it's important that the home health aide you're seeking has the proper training to handle tasks and provide the best care and companionship for your loved one. 

New training programs are being launched around the country such as the Integrated Model for Personal Assistant Research and Training (IMPART) and Building Training, Building Quality (BTBQ), according to Home Health Care News. By identifying care providers who have undertaken these additional training programs to enhance their skills, you can find a better qualified prospect.

As noted by the source, studies have revealed that greater training for senior care providers:

  • Reduces turnover.
  • Improves care seeker satisfaction and outcomes.

These traits help ensure a better standard of care for you or your loved one. 

"It's important that home health aides have strong communication skills."

Foreign language proficiency

Foreign language fluency plays a major role in delivering top-notch home health care. If the care provider you seek out is unable to communicate clearly with you or your loved one due to translation problems, it can cause a decline in the quality of care. 

While many will accurately pinpoint Spanish as the second most spoken language in the U.S., the others might surprise you. After English, the top five most spoken languages in the U.S. according to CORE Languages are:

  • Spanish with nearly 40 million speakers.
  • Chinese with almost 3 million speakers.
  • Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines, with more than 1.6 million speakers.
  • Vietnamese with nearly 1.5 million speakers.
  • French (including Creole) with more than 1.3 million speakers.

Finding a care provider that can communicate proficiently with you or your loved one in a native tongue ensures a better relationship.

And while finding multilingual care providers will remain a top priority, it's also important that you locate a home health aide that has solid communication and interpersonal skills all around. The ability to build a personal rapport and establish trust through both words and actions are key components of a strong relationship.

How to find the best candidate

Surging demand for home health care aides will mean you'll have to diligently sift out underqualified candidates. Pouring over reams of paper resumes is a time-consuming and labor-intensive method to locate the ideal care provider. Additionally, how can you be sure that the skills listed are truthful and accurate?

Instead of spending hours online or calling dozens of different agencies, the data available through the Comprehensive Community Resource Finder from Carelike provides you with more than just basic candidate contact information. Carelike offers a comprehensive and un-biased database of home health aides that meet your needs for providing the highest level of quality care.  While many other online directories only list providers who are contracted with them, Carelike lists all licensed providers in your area - giving you the most comprehensive view of your options.

Additionally, Carelike's CareMatch™ Advanced Search technology, lets you narrow down your search to pinpoint the precise qualifications you're seeking in a caregiver, whether this includes providing specialized Alzheimer care, speaking a particular language or knowing how to handle specific health conditions. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: February 22, 2017

Marketing on a tight budget for home health care providers

Being more active on social media, attending conferences and leveraging Carelike's CareMatch technology can go a long way to improving your marketing campaign and boosting your referral network and client base.

As a home health care provider, you know the importance of networking and marketing yourself to continually find new clients. But carving out the time and money from your already thinly stretched calendars and budgets can make these crucial tasks difficult or even impossible.

However, with the right focus on a streamlined, cost-effective strategy, you can launch a robust marketing campaign with little money and minimal time.

Consider these simple yet valuable techniques for marketing your home health care business on even the smallest budget:

Boost your online presence

The internet has been a boon to small organizations and self-employed individuals who want to expand their reach and build their brand. However, it is surprising that many home health care providers will spend a substantial amount of money on traditional printed marketing materials, such as brochures and business cards, while neglecting their online presence.

"Your online presence reaches a larger audience than traditional printed materials."

Improving your online presence, position and reputation will help you reach a wider audience, and at a fraction of the cost and time of print marketing. Social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, offer you an open channel to upload and interact with current and prospective clients.

Along with social media, online review site and local business apps like Yelp and Angie's List are a great way for people to locate new services. Ensure that your home health care operation is listed in these places and that your contact information is available and accurate. These sites will also house feedback from customers voicing their satisfaction or lack thereof. While it's okay to reply to posts about your services, remember to keep things civil and professional, since this information will be available for all to see.

You can use these resources to upload insightful information about the industry, build up your referral base and keep your clients and peers updated on current success stories.

Attend conferences and local community events

Locating and attending conferences and conventions for home health care providers broadens your professional network. Forging connections at these events creates new referral channels and can even substantially expand your social media following if you leverage these interactions correctly.

From the National Association for Home Care and Hospice to the Home Care Association of America or the American Association for Homecare, there are plenty of organizations of all sizes that host conferences and provide numerous opportunities throughout the year to engage in networking. Even organizations like your town's Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce will host breakfasts, luncheons or cocktail hours to gather local small businesses.

Leverage CareMatch technology

Having access to an expansive nationwide network of families and seniors seeking care providers can be a great advantage to expanding your operations. With more than 350,000 senior care options available in the database, Carelike's CareMatch search capabilities let you gather better qualified leads while also letting care-seekers see your detailed profile highlighting your qualifications and experience.

Additionally, Carelike is in partnership with dozens of organizations that are looking to the Carelike directory to make referral recommendations.  Organizations range from patient advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, to EAP programs, to hospital systems like the Mayo Clinic, health insurance companies, discharge planning software companies, and many more.  When you populate your business information with Carelike, you are not only getting exposure on Carelike.com and with their CareMatch technology but you also get exposure to thousands of professionals making referral recommendations based off of the information you provided Carelike.

Being more active on social media, attending conferences and leveraging Carelike's CareMatch technology can go a long way to improving your marketing campaign and boosting your referral network and client base. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: February 06, 2017

Tech making an impact on home health care services

Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings.

Home care aides have long been facilitators of independence and good health for seniors. From providing assistance for individuals who want to age in place to ensuring their clients remain active participants in their communities, it's crucial that care providers have the means to promote this self-sufficiency.

Thankfully, an assortment of emerging technological devices and internet platforms have arisen that ease the facilitation of this independence and health lifestyles for seniors.

Social media keeps everyone connected

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets have made the world more interconnected than ever before. While Facebook began solely as a means for college students to stay linked, it quickly transformed into a global network accessible to people of all ages. Increasingly, older adults are using the channel. According to a 2016 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of online individuals ages 65 and older log in and use Facebook - a jump of 14 percentage points from the 48 percent of this cohort who reported using the site in 2015.

"Facebook keeps seniors connected with friends and families."

One of the great things about social media is that it allows seniors to interact with friends, families and even strangers - a key component to remaining independent and healthy. However, the service also provides a channel for seniors to keep everyone updated about health problems or other issues preventing them from living life to the fullest.

Wearable technology

As computers become smaller and more ubiquitous, innovative companies have been incorporating technology into just about everything. This has facilitated the advent and growth of wearable technology. And it's having an impact on the home health community for good reason. 

Each year, roughly 33 percent Americans ages 65 and older and half of people 85 and older, experience a life-changing fall, Live Science reported. These slips can cause severe injuries and prevent individuals from reaching their phone to contact an emergency service.

A medical alarm system that includes a pendant or device that senses a sudden fall and impact reduces the chances for long-term injuries or worse. These devices have become much more advanced in recent years, with internet connections and immediate contact methods if the wearer doesn't respond.

Increased access to wearable technology allows home care aides to stay informed of any potentially dangerous slips or falls that might occur to the seniors they assist.

 

New technology has been key in allowing home health aides boost their quality of care.

New technology has been key in allowing home health aides boost their quality of care.

Matching with the best care aides

Finding the right home care aide and matching him or her with the ideal person is crucial for maintaining solid relationships. 

Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings. The information is then sent to Carelike’s network of Channel Partners who license and view the provider information in order to make referral recommendations to their patients.  This robust and comprehensive search technology connects the most ideal care provider candidate best suited to the care seeker’s needs. For a minimal fee, care providers can set up a detailed profile with a comprehensive list of qualifications and experiences. This enables the CareMatch technology to produce more accurate connections that allow for better relationships between care providers and care seekers. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: January 04, 2017

5 signs you have a great home health aide

There are some tried-and-true signs that you've hired a great home health aide no matter what kinds of conditions your loved one is struggling with.

Finding the right home health aide for your senior loved one, even after months of research into candidates, can still be a roll of the dice for many people. After all, this individual is responsible for meeting the care and treatment needs of a person you have loved for decades, so it's understandable that you want to ensure your home health aide is the right fit.

There are some tried-and-true signs that you've hired a great home health aide no matter what kinds of conditions your loved one is struggling with. Here are the top five you should look for:

1. Good communication skills

Although a home health aide knows how to take vitals to prevent and identify health issues, the bulk of his or her job is going to rest on proper communication with your loved one, and with you as well. This starts with the home health aide having a good attitude and an open mind when he or she is talking through a daily routine, especially if there are changes to doctor recommendations or treatments. Above all, your senior loved one should feel calm and comfortable while speaking to the home health aide, according to Aging Care.

 

Patience and empathy are essential for home health aides' success.

Patience and empathy are essential for home health aides' success.

2. Professionalism

Before a patient receives care from a home health aide, he or she should sit down with both you and your loved one to discuss job expectations and his or her approach to care. This is also a time when you and your loved one should discuss what to expect during the day and what kinds of tasks should be carried out.

3. Plenty of patience and empathy

As with any care professional setting, providers need to have patience to best serve their patients. This is especially true if your loved one is struggling with a cognitive issue like dementia or Alzheimer's. In care settings, there are times when providers may run into frustrations, but during these times they need to remain calm and focus on the job at hand. Although this often results in extra time and empathy on their end, for providers, these two traits are absolutely essential to success.

4. A balanced schedule

There is a good chance that your home health aide is caring for several patients. This means you need to be respectful of his or her schedule and hours, and vice versa. Many home health aides today rely on apps and shared calendars to find a balance in the schedule. However, he or she should also be in communication with you when times or dates are rearranged just so all of the bases are covered when it comes to your loved one's care.

5. Experience with all types of care

Just like a doctor or nurse, successful home health aides have seen and been through it all, and that's a good thing. You want your home health aide to know what to do in a variety of medical situations, large and small. That's why every care seeker much look to the experience this individual has encountered over his or her years in the health care industry to see if he or she is the right fit for your loved one's health needs. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Blog  |  On: December 22, 2016

5 New Year’s Resolutions for care professionals

There are several New Year's resolutions that you could try to achieve that specifically apply to your work as a caregiver.

Believe it or not, 2016 is coming to a close, which means that a lot of people are thinking about New Year's resolutions. There are several New Year's resolutions that you could try to achieve that specifically apply to your work as a caregiver.

A new year is always a fresh start. Consider some of these New Year's resolutions for caregiver in order to have a happy and healthy 2017 for both you and your patients.

1. Take more time for yourself: As a caregiver, you often have a lot of responsibilities both at work and at home. And, more often than not, it can seem like you are burning the candle at both ends at times. However, your career as a caregiver is all about finding the right work-life balance. After all, if you are completely burnt out at work, you aren't going to be in the right mindset to properly care for your patients. Be sure that you take time off when you need it, find room to exercise and relax, and keep those extra-long days to a minimum. 

2. Get organized: With so many patients, medication schedules and updates to keep track of, caregivers need to take steps to be more organized. Fortunately, there are a lot of tech solutions that can help you accomplish this. Also be sure to document all of your patients' papers and files in an online forum so that they are easy to find. Some time management tools include CareZone, Evernote and Personal Caregiver, to name a few.

 

There are plenty of great New Year's Resolutions for care professionals this year.

There are plenty of great New Year's resolutions for care professionals this year.

3. Learn how to delegate and say 'no' when you need to: Caregivers by nature want to make sure they are doing everything they can for their patients. However, it's simply impossible to meet everyone's needs 100 percent of the time. To prevent burnout and make sure your patients are properly cared for, you will need to learn how to say no when you simply don't have the time and to lean on family caregivers and friends of patients when you can't be there in person.

4. Start doing your research: With so many therapies and treatments getting more advanced by the minute, the possibilities for better care are endless. When have some down time, begin reading studies and publications about caregiving so that you are staying on top of the best cutting-edge treatments. You could also take the time to learn about healthcare plans and reforms so that you are better equipped to answer common questions from your patients about coverage and costs.

5. A renewed focus on nutrition and exercise for your patients: Seniors need daily exercise and nutrients in order to live the best quality of life. However, this is far too often swept under the rug in most care plans today. While you are documenting your patients' care plans, be sure to also include information about diet and exercise so that you have a holistic care plan in place for all of your patients heading into 2017.

If you are unsure about what your New Year's resolution should be this year, consider one of these suggestions to get 2017 off to a good start. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: December 13, 2016

Qualities to look for in postoperative care

As a care seeker, there are a lot of things you will need to consider for postoperative care.

As a care seeker, there are a lot of things you will need to consider for postoperative care. Going through surgery or a procedure is only the beginning: Postoperative care is incredibly important as you heal from an operation, as the right care can lessen health complications and also bolster your recovery from a condition.

Basic postoperative needs
A lot of families prefer a caregiver be with their senior loved one consistently following an operation. There are a lot of reasons behind this: For instance, if a medical issue were to arise, such as an infection at the surgical site, a trained professional will he on-hand to give the best advice and ease worries. This is especially true for older patients, as their immune systems are weaker and response time to these medical events is critical.

Recovery is also every bit as important as the surgery itself. From dietary changes to physical activity to pain management, postoperative care requires a schedule and system that is best implemented by a medical provider who is trained in this field. Here are a few things you should look for in postoperative care:

 If you're recovering from surgery, postoperative care is crucial.

1. Caregiving 101: For recovery after most surgeries, your caregiver will need to understand some basic nursing credentials, such as checking vital signs, helping your loved one get dressed, administering medications and changing bandages. If the doctor recommends physical therapy, you might want to specifically look for a caregiver that also has a background in this field.

2. A focus on mobility: Many senior loved ones require home health services because they are recovering from an invasive surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement. For these types of operations, it is crucial that the patient is up and moving as soon as he or she is able to. Although every patient recovers differently from an operation, the main goal is to get your loved one back to normal, and that requires mobility.

3. Transparency about medical costs: Some recovery services and equipment might be covered by Medicare, while others require additional insurance or cost. According to the New York Times, most insurance companies will only pay for skilled care on a temporary basis if you are homebound. However, a good postoperative caregiving agency will be upfront ahead of time about what you need to get healthy as well as what is and is not covered so that you can make the right financial decisions for you and your family.

4. Care coordination: Part of caregiving requires care coordination. Depending on the operation, your loved one might require some tests after surgery to see if the surgery was successful. Your postoperative caregiver will be aware of these updates and implement the care techniques instructed from your physician.

The care you or your loved one receives after surgery is critical for long-term health. Be sure that you know the basics about postoperative care so that you can make the most informed decisions about your family's health and recovery.

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: December 06, 2016

The growing threat of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer's disease has become one of the biggest public health crises in the U.S., especially over the past few decades.

Alzheimer's disease has become one of the biggest public health crises in the U.S., especially over the past few decades.

According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, more than 50 percent of nursing home residents who used long-term care services were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, and it is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Although these statistics are alarming, they only tell one part of the story when it comes to this condition. The Alzheimer's Association also says that 47 million people are currently living with Alzheimer's or other dementias worldwide, affecting people from all walks of life. 

Alzheimer's at a glance
This disease doesn't just affect those who are afflicted, but it also impacts whole families and communities. Support from caregivers, friends and family members is absolutely crucial for patients who are trying to battle Alzheimer's, so it is important to understand the behaviors and challenges.

Alzheimer's goes through three general stages: all with mild, moderate and severe cognitive decline, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The progression of these stages depends on the person, but the disease can last anywhere from four to 20 years.

Cognitive decline can also afflict individuals in different ways, but some of the more common ones include difficulties communicating during work or social interactions, losing valuable objects, trouble remembering names, speech pattern decline, and the inability to plan or organize daily tasks. Eventually these symptoms can progress into more debilitating symptoms, such as forgetfulness about personal history, personality changes and physical problems as well.

 

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease affects millions of patients and families worldwide.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease affect millions of patients and families worldwide.

Searching for breakthroughs in Alzheimer's
Breakthroughs in science are also needed now more than ever to stop this disease from progressing. As Forbes recently pointed out, a promising new drug, solanezumab, did not pass late-stage clinical trials with Alzheimer's patients, meaning that many researchers are going back to the drawing board and looking for a more practical approach to conquer the disease.

However, there are some glimmers of hope. Fortunately, many researchers and policymakers have recently made Alzheimer's a priority. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the House Appropriations Committee approved an additional $350 million to go toward Alzheimer's research this past summer after pressure from more than a thousand Alzheimer's advocates who expressed their concerns.

No matter what happens in the future with Alzheimer's, it's clear that a combination of medical innovation and informed policy decisions are needed in order to give families, caregivers and patients the resources they need to meet the immense challenges of this condition moving forward. 

Raising awareness
As Alzheimer's continues to affect more people in the U.S., various awareness efforts have taken place across the country. Many people have joined in Alzheimer's Awareness marches, worn purple during Alzheimer's Awareness Month and shared their stories on social media with hashtags like #ENDALZ or #IGoPurpleFor in order to shine the spotlight on the disease and research efforts. Many celebrities have also shared their support and personal stories about the fight against Alzheimer's, including comedian Seth Rogen, the cast of "The Big Bang Theory," athlete Tony Hawk, musician Grace Potter and fashion expert Nina Garcia.

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: December 01, 2016

Financial assistance for making your home wheelchair-accessible

If you need financial assistance for home modifications to make your house wheelchair-accessible, there are several resources that may be able to help you get started.

Many seniors want to live their lives as independently as possible, and home modifications are an excellent way to help them do just that. If you need financial assistance for home modifications to make your house wheelchair-accessible, there are several resources that may be able to help you get started.

Common home modifications
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are a few common alterations that many people seek out once they rely on a wheelchair for day-to-day activities. Some of these may include:

  • Push-button access to doors that replace traditional door handles.
  • A walk-in shower.
  • Handrail installation on staircases, both outdoors and indoors.
  • Altering kitchen counters so that they are lower and easier to reach.
  • Wheelchair ramps that help you get inside and outside more easily.

Whether you are seeking resources for one or all of these alterations, it's important to speak first with your physical or occupational therapist to see what might work best for you and your home.

 

There are several resources that can help you make your home wheelchair-accessible.

There are several resources that can help you make your home wheelchair-accessible.

Get educated about home modifications
Getting yourself informed about making your home wheelchair-accessible is the first step, and there are plenty of resources and organizations that can help. The HHS also explained that repairs and alterations can cost seniors anywhere from $150 to $2,000, depending on the type of renovation you are seeking. A contractor will be the best person to explain to you what is needed in your home, how much it will cost and what kinds of reduced rates or fees might apply.

However, it's important to know that these modifications and their respective expenses are provided by the Older Americans Act, and then dispensed through the Area Agencies on Aging, according to the HHS. You can find out where your local AAA chapter is by visiting the Alzheimer's Association's Community Resource Finder (www.communityresourcefinder.org)  and then clicking on the "Community Services" tab.

Resources and organizations
In addition to your local AAA, there are several other resources and organizations that might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to financial assistance. The HHS recommends Rebuilding Together, Inc., which operates with local affiliates and volunteers to help low-income seniors find the resources they need. You might also be able to find rebates with the U.S. Department of Energy's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, though those discounts may vary state by state.

It's also worthwhile to contact organizations in your area, as many cities and towns offer grant funds through community development centers and local departments. Local banks and lenders might advise you to look into home equity conversion mortgages or reverse mortgages to cover additional costs for renovations as well.

If you're a senior looking to make your home wheelchair-accessible, there are many ways you can get the assistance you need, both from private and public sources. Be sure to ask family and friends about their own experiences with these types of renovations as well so that you gain more insight into the right contractors to hire for this important task.

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: November 28, 2016

Coordinating home healthcare schedules with patient family members

The field of caregiving is growing and becoming much more reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of modern healthcare.

Caregiving is a task that requires a lot of patience and understanding. In addition to having empathy for those who need your medical care, you must find ways to make caregiving management less stressful and more meaningful for both you and your patients.

Many of your patients rely on family members to help them complete daily tasks, especially if they struggle with cognitive issues like Alzheimer's disease or physical disabilities. Everything from medication instructions to appointment scheduling must be communicated with family members and other loved ones to ensure your patients are finding the right balance and staying as healthy as possible.

That's why coordinating schedules with patient family members is so important. It helps you communicate better with the people who need your services the most, and it also makes your job a little easier as well. Fortunately, the field of caregiving is growing and becoming much more reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of modern caregiving.

If you're a healthcare provider looking for better ways to coordinate schedules with patient family members, read below for some sound advice on how to get started.

 

There are several caregiving apps that can help better manage your time with patients and their families.

There are several caregiving apps that can help better manage your time with patients and their families.

1. Talk about your schedules from the very beginning: It's easy to get overwhelmed with your work as a caregiver, so you'll need to set boundaries and schedules with new patients and their families from the very beginning. Let them know when you will be available for work and when certain hours and days are off-limits. Being a caregiver means you can likely balance your own schedule and do amazing things for your patients. However, job demands can be challenging in this field, so it's important to schedule time for yourself as well.

2. Make a care calendar for patient family members: With so many appointments, medications and treatments to keep track of with each patient, care calendars are a must. Just like you, patient family members have careers, schedules, relationships and kids to think about in addition to their loved one who needs care. Having a care calendar lays out all of the information your patient needs upfront so that both parties can keep track of medications, doctor's visits, physical therapy sessions and other treatments needed to stay healthy.

3. Try out caregiving apps: Smartphones and other remote devices have become a huge asset for caregivers who want to balance schedules, especially with patients and their family members. According to Provider magazine, there are several reputable apps to choose from that can help you balance your activities directly from your phone or tablet, and some even link to social media sites and online calendars to make life even easier for all parties involved. What's more, many of these apps are available for free through the iOS and Android stores. Some of these include Balance, CareZone, Balance and Care/Mind. If you already carry around a smartphone for personal use, try downloading one of these apps to see if it works for you and your busy lifestyle.

Balancing your time as a caregiver can get tricky, especially with so many people to care for. However, by following these tips, you can worry less about scheduling and focus on what matters most: your patients and their families.

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: November 16, 2016

Uber used as transportation for home health providers

The terms "Uber" and "healthcare" have been used together a lot in the news lately, and it's no wonder.

Ride-sharing apps like Uber have taken over a considerable share of the transportation market in the past several years, especially in cities. Though the benefits of grabbing a ride from your phone are obvious for the general public, many businesses in the private sector are beginning to capitalize on the affordability and ease of use with Uber, including the healthcare sector.

Paving the way
Circulation, a transportation platform based in Boston, is now setting up a platform with health systems to arrange rides with Uber's application programing interface. Many experts working within Circulation believe this model has huge potential, as it could provide a reliable form of transportation for home health workers. It also works on demand to deliver high-quality healthcare workers to patients suffering from non-emergency medical issues safely and accurately. According to Home Healthcare News, John Brownstein, Circulation's co-founder, Harvard Medical School professor and a health care adviser to Uber, Circulation is already looking toward the future.

"That would be the next phase of this platform," he said. Brownstein went on to explain that Circulation was "designed with seniors in mind … there's definitely an opportunity to use Circulation for on-demand home health services." 

 

Apps like Uber could become a useful tool in the home health industry soon.Apps like Uber could become a useful tool in the home health industry soon.

Working with hospitals and providers to use Uber for home healthcare could indeed help many seniors suffering from cognitive issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer's. These patients might feel more comfortable seeing a medical professional in their own homes. The same could be true for homebound seniors with physical impairments, such as those who rely on a cane or wheelchair to get to their appointments.

Is an 'Uber for healthcare' on the rise?
The terms "Uber" and "healthcare" have been used together a lot in the news lately, and it's no wonder. After all, on-demand services are incredibly easy to use and convenient, which is not the case for healthcare in many ways. Wait times to see a healthcare professional are rising, and many people want the personal connection with providers that quick appointments don't always allow. It would seem that an "Uber for healthcare" would solve many of these issues.

Still, there are some professionals in health tech who are wary about on-demand health services. In a recent TechCrunch article, the argument is that healthcare is a multi-faceted need for consumers and can't be solved in the one-time transaction, such as a ride to the airport. Most people, the author argues, value the doctor-patient relationship above anything else, which can be hard to nail down in an on-demand experience.

However, that's not to say that Uber can't be a great stand-alone tool for health systems to use for homebound seniors or patients with cognitive decline. Brownstein also spoke with the Boston Globe about a project he led last year called UberHEALTH, which successfully helped transport medical professionals in Boston and 35 other cities to administer more than 2,000 flu shots. In a survey given to those who participated in the program, 78 percent said that the delivery of the vaccine was crucial in deciding to be part of the platform.

While it's still unclear whether or not Uber will turn into a fixed part of the healthcare system, there are signs that it could become more common in the home health sector in the future. 

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