About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can your major of study improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services?
Essay response by Lauren Costello
My major is Operations and Management Information Systems along with a minor in Computer Science. Being that my minor is in Computer Science, it would be helpful to develop a multi-faceted application program. It would allow health care professionals and patients to keep track of all in-home doctor visits, nutrition, medication, exercise, and notes on an In-Home Care Universal Application. The patient can allow access for significant others and/or family members so they will have first-hand patient information. This application will be able to be access through an internet browser as well.
Organizing all the patients’ health information together will help doctors look at previous visits and see what care was noted, recommended, and done. Using the In-Home Care Universal Application will help with and minimize any confusion or lack of communication. The benefit of having current information from the patient and/or caretaker, will help all the professionals to administer better and more accurate care.
Many patients or caretakers have difficulty preparing food due to dietary requirements. The meal portion of the application will be extremely beneficial. A nurse, caretaker, or patient would in-put all the patients dietary needs as well as restrictions. Categories of food types like fruit, vegetables, dairy, etc. would have drop-down menus. This information would generate a printable list to assist with organizing a grocery list template by food categories. Under the food portion of the application, food reminders will be included. For example, someone will be able to set times for meals. An alarm will go off if their meal has not been recorded into the application. From the information recorded it will calculate various types of nutritional values. This information will be broken down by calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, etc.
Another portion of the application will be medication management. This will assist the patient and caretakers to organize the patients’ medications, quantity, as well as when to take the medication by previously setting reminders. Furthermore, an automatic message will be generated to the caretaker indicating which medications need to be reordered. The message will be downloaded into a document which can be used to order patient medications. A list of all medications taken within 1 year will be included. It will help doctors to make decisions if changes in medications are needed. There will also be a section in the application for appointments they will be recorded and once again a weekly reminder will be generated. This will help the caretaker to organize the week appointments.
Patient daily exercise routine will be listed in the application. It lists exercises the patient needs to do, physically, occupationally, and/or speech. The amount of repetitions will be indicated and a diagram of how the exercise should be done. Having this information will make it safer for the patient as well as who is administering the exercise. There will be an area for notes to be inputted, documenting progress or lack thereof.
I would add another component to the In-Home Care application which is a Skype application to the tablet. This will allow the user to use video chat. Many in-home patients are unable or have extreme difficulty leaving their home for doctor appointments. This application can also be used to keep in contact with family members.
A tablet will be rented to patients by In-Home Care to utilize the application.
Lauren is studying Operations and Management Information Systems at Northern Illinois University,