A Director of Health Services Talks About the Family App

Jan 16, 2017

Dina, we originally documented Royal Oak’s success in 2015. Over one year later, are things still running smoothly for Family Engagement?

Yes! We have so many families who will check in to see what their parents or relatives are doing. We know they like having that bird’s eye view without always having to call; it gives people a sense of peace knowing things are well.

Phone calls have decreased and all of our staff that engage in Caremerge have noticed how much easier it is to share information without everything having to be a call or callback situation.

How has the Family App impacted relationships between staff and family?

They [family] feel they know us better. Our Life Enrichment Team are the greatest users. They’re always posting pictures or adding little snippets of how someone’s day went. They’re not people that would normally get phone calls by families, because before Caremerge they would always call me [Director of Health Services], the Clinical Manager, or our social worker. It was a much narrower view of all the people that were involved in their family’s care.

Over time the families have seen that there really is a bigger team of people (such as Life Enrichment, the Resource Nurse, and the Resident Service Coordinator) involved in their loved one’s care. They’ve established relationships with more people on the ground here, and it gives them a sense of ease having direct access to people.

So The Family App gives families a sense of connection because they connect with people they weren’t aware touched their loved one’s life before?

Absolutely, with Caremerge, families can develop a rapport with a group of people and know what their part is in their mom’s care. Families can go directly to them without feeling like they’ve got to go through one person. Anytime you can do that it enhances trust; it enhances familiarity that makes people feel connected positively. So it’s less critical. A lot of times when people don’t have information they conjure up all types of things that must be happening so they tend to be more critical. Now, because of Caremerge, they have a positive relationship with a number of people that they can talk to within a day or two and know they’re going get a reply. It’s that ongoing dialogue that puts people at ease. It makes them feel more comfortable.

Have you started doing anything differently because you have Caremerge? Do you use Caremerge in new ways to communicate that you couldn’t have before with just a phone call or an email?

Being able to share that visible piece; the pictures. We’ve never been able to give families access to what activities their family was involved in before unless they called in to us. Once the app was live, we had so many families say, “We had no idea there was so many things for the residents to do.” They thought it was just Bingo everyday and musicals on Thursday’s because it was all Mom has ever told them.

I think it’s nice that they can see how robust the day can be for the residents and that they are participating in a lot more than they tend to remember to talk about when they’re on the phone.

Is there an instance you can speak to where Caremerge made all the difference?

We had a resident in her 90s that was highly functional for her age, yet her primary diagnosis was dementia. She had no short-term memory to speak of so there was hardly anything she could recall past two seconds. Her daughter would call her every evening at 8:00pm like clockwork just to see what her mother did that day.

Daughter: Well did you get your meals?

Mom: Nope, I don’t remember having anything to eat.

Daughter: Well did you get your paper?

Mom: Nope, nobody brought the paper.

She couldn’t remember, so she would tell her daughter that absolutely nothing was happening all day long and this was during the Caremerge transition.

We signed her daughter up to use Caremerge when the implementation was complete and she was able to log in to see all the things that her mother was doing all day long. She found out that her mother never stayed in her room. In fact, she was a real social butterfly, she went from activity to activity and was all over the place.

When her daughter made her routine evening call to see how her day went, she wouldn’t be able to recall it. But luckily her daughter was able to see what she participated in when she logged into the Family App and it gave her a sense of relief that her mother was able to enjoy a great quality of life all day long. Just because she couldn’t remember it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t enjoying it.

You mention that you’ve brought in whole teams on to The Family App - can you tell us about them?

We’ve added Therapy Staff so they can talk to families directly. When someone has gone on Hospice Services we’ve added the onsite Hospice Nurse to talk with families and families have appreciated that. We’re always looking for new ways we can use the FE App to be as inclusive as possible.

Can you tell us a bit about your implementation process and experience as a client?

We love our relationship with Caremerge. You guys are so excited for us. It’s a give and take relationship and you’re always looking at what our needs are. I know you’re doing that with all of your clients. You want to be responsive to what our needs are as organizations that serve seniors. Caremerge makes things so easy that all levels of staff can really access and use this application effectively. That’s what I love about it. When I look at what you guys have done and compared that to the other things we’re looking at, it’s a no-brainer. It’s so easy; it’s a 15-minute training session to learn how to do anything that you guys put out there and that’s not the case with other applications, it’s just not. And it’s important to us that everybody is comfortable with using it.

Is there an instance you can speak to where Caremerge made all the difference?

Well, when we first converted to Caremerge we had a Life Enrichment Staff Member who considered herself the least tech person of all time. She struggled with everything that was electronic. When we showed her Caremerge she had a high level of anxiety when she learned that they were going to have to use this application to track resident participation. She was really nervous about it in the weeks leading up to the training.

When we went through implementation we spent 15 minutes with her and she was surprised at how simple and easy it was to use. She was so excited about how much time she saved with using Caremerge to create activity calendars and track attendance.

See what Dina raves about in 15 short minutes. Sign up for a demo.

About The Author

Olga Jewusiak

Olga Jewusiak is the Marketing Manager at Caremerge and firmly believes that age is nothing but a number because Baddie Winkle exists.

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