Caring for an elderly or ill family member can put considerable stress on loved ones. Sons, daughters, grandchildren, neighbors and spouses find themselves acting as caregivers, doing everything from making sure medication is managed properly to handling legal documents should an emergency arise.
Jonathan Haag, a Carmel resident who works as digital communication manager at CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions, noticed this problem and wondered if technology could simplify some of the daily caregiving tasks.
That’s why he’s developing Patch Health, a web-based application that supports caregivers by connecting families, professional partners and services. Miscommunication is avoided by allowing users to log updates such as visits to the doctor or making sure medicine is taken.
Haag, 27, developed a prototype outside of his work in order to help alleviate the stress on family members. He said a majority of unofficial caregivers would be diagnosed with depression if they saw a doctor.
“The stress is unbearable,” he said.
Haag has started a Kickstarter campaign at http://kck.st/2fXAkjN to fund creation of the application, which can be accessed through Internet browser or mobile apps. His goal is to raise $60,000 by Jan. 6.
The app can be customized for almost any need, and it’s broken up into sections.
A “journal” allows caregivers to record and review entries of a loved one’s health and care journey. This information can be shared with medical professional for easier diagnoses. It also can avoid miscommunication and keep multiple caregivers on one schedule.
A “lockbox” allows app users to securely save and share important documents, such as a living will, a durable power of attorney, a do-not-resuscitate order and more. Hard copies are often shared in a safe place, but this can be helpful in an emergency for quick reference.
There’s also an “assistant” which empowers a caregiver to coordinate and implement a variety of services to support a loved one’s quality of life.
Although some apps provide some of the same elements as Patch Health, Haag said he hadn’t found one that provides specific connections with healthcare professionals. He and his wife, Monica, have a one-year-old son, and he said he remembers using four applications to track everything there was to track with a newborn baby.
“People want it in one place,” he said.
For more information, visit patchhealth.org.