“CareTeam unites the patient, family, personal caregivers and health care providers as one team around a shared, dynamic care plan,” says Sheila Bauer, CEO of the Dementia Society.
Article originally posted here.
Sharon (not her real name) is sitting at home in Stittsville when a notification pops up on her phone. There is a dementia support group meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and she has received an invitation to attend. Twenty kilometres away, in the offices of the Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, dementia care coach Cynthia Dewolfe receives a notification of her own. Sharon has accepted the invitation and will attend the meeting.
Sharon and Dewolfe are using a new app called CareTeam, a pilot project being tested by the Champlain Dementia Network. The Dementia Society is the first organization to make use of the app, which is designed to put all your medical information in one place. If all goes according to plan, Sharon will soon be able to add her family doctor, her neurologist, her oncologist and her pharmacist to the app.
Sharon still lives at home, where her husband is her primary caregiver. He has access to the CareTeam app, as do her two adult daughters and Dewolfe. They can check in to see what meetings Sharon has scheduled and what outings she can attend through the Dementia Society. These can include music programs, coffee clubs, physical activity meetings and trips to places like the National Art Gallery. The programs are designed to create connections, which result in healthier brains.
Navigating the health care system can be confusing, and even more so when a person has been diagnosed with dementia. The CareTeam app has the potential to make things simpler for people living with dementia and their caregivers. “CareTeam unites the patient, family, personal caregivers and health care providers as one team around a shared, dynamic care plan,” says Sheila Bauer, CEO of the Dementia Society.
When you speak with the people at the Dementia Society, you get the sense that “one team” is not just a stated goal, but an agencywide ethos. Their mandate is that “no one should face dementia alone,” and they live that mandate. The dementia care coaches handle the differing needs of a variety of clients with individualized care plans, and they follow up and monitor those plans with friends, family and medical professionals. They refer their clients to other services, such as Meals on Wheels, that can also improve quality of life. And they do everything they can to make sure that people living with dementia are not socially isolated, but rather thriving members of the community.
It takes a community to support people with dementia. Everyone at the Dementia Society, from the dementia care coaches to the CEO, is keenly aware that the Ottawa and Renfrew County communities play a huge part in maintaining the dignity of people living with dementia. Half of the Dementia Society’s funding comes from the generosity of caring individuals in the community. They know educating people about dementia is key to creating a welcoming public for people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Now, they hope that CareTeam can make this process easier for everyone. When hospitals, pharmacies and specialists sign on with the app, they will be signing on to join the team. And the team, like the communities that support people living with dementia, is strongest when everyone plays a part.
For more information, visit www.dementiahelp.ca
This story was provided by the Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County for commercial purposes.
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