By Dr. Madhavi Vemireddy, co-founder and COO, CareTribe.
Millions of Americans live with chronic health conditions every day, sometimes even debilitating or disabling health conditions. When our physical health fails, it inadvertently impacts every facet of our lives: social, financial, interpersonal, as well as professional. As a result, millions of Americans are enlisted to support their loved ones struggling with their health each year. Within the healthcare industry, we refer to the former as “family caregivers ” and the latter as “care recipients.”
Today, more than 53 million Americans can be described as family caregivers.
Family caregivers commonly find themselves scrambling to solve problems for their afflicted loved one, often at the expense of their job, their family, and friends, and sometimes even their own physical and/or mental wellbeing. The average American caregiver spends four years or more in the role of a caregiver, spending approximately 24 hours per week dedicated to supporting their loved one with their out-of-pocket spending as a caregiver costing on average more than $7,000 per year.
Unfortunately, caregivers typically find themselves providing this level of care for a loved one with very little expert support. Usually, caregivers tap into their network of friends and family members for advice or assistance. Because of the chronic stress that the role of caregiving brings, caregivers are twice as likely to suffer from adverse health effects like depression, hypertension, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and other ailments–all while carrying the responsibility of caregiving for their loved one.
Creating a Community Centered on Caregiving
These reasons are why my husband and I founded CareTribe to support the millions of Americans struggling to support their loved ones who are afflicted with chronic health conditions, the ramifications of those conditions, and the impact they hold on the overall quality of life for both care recipients and caregivers alike.
In creating CareTribe, our mission was to provide family caregivers with an innovative technology platform driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that combines condition specific pathways, relevant benefits, curated products and resources, and human experts to provide personalized support, regardless of what stage caregivers are at in their journey to assist their loved ones.
With CareTribe’s AI powered digital platform and access to professional human expertise, we can create personalized LifePaths, which are tailored action plans with curated resources, tied to a care recipient’s individual care needs to help drive better health outcomes for both the caregiver and their care recipient. We accomplish this by helping caregivers address current needs and plan for future needs throughout their caregiving journey, while removing the stress of finding the right resources to support their loved one(s). Many times, family caregivers find support or resources for a loved one when they suffer a bad outcome like a fall. By identifying early risk factors for a fall, we can educate family caregivers on how to make the home safe, find the right safety monitoring device and if needed, get additional support to keep their loved one safe.
Utilizing AI to Deliver Better Health Outcomes
Every care recipient possesses a unique profile consisting of their physical and mental health, functional and daily activities of care, access to caregiver support and/or companion care. Without the ability to understand their holistic needs, caregivers will always be reacting to care needs, as they cannot anticipate potential future needs for their loved one in an ever-evolving scenario of caregiving. By integrating AI into the caregiving journey, however, we can better anticipate a care recipient’s potential care needs and support better health outcomes as we are able to encompass their clinical needs, personal needs at home, safety concerns, legal and financial planning, and overall quality of life.
In this way, the inclusion of AI in the personalized LifePath of care recipients can create a holistic plan of care for them, which their caregiver can then use and lean on as a guide in their caregiving journey.
Caregiving is already stressful, and the reality that most family members taking care of a loved one are doing it on top of dealing with the stresses of their day job, it’s no surprise the physical and mental health impact it can have on family caregivers. Supporting family caregivers is not simply a social issue in today’s world; it is also a medical one.
There is a role for an AI powered digital platform coupled with access to professional caregiving experts to support family caregivers across the caregiving journey so they can be prepared to support their loved ones, with the goal of ensuring better health outcomes and improved quality of life for them and their loved one(s). Caregiving is, after all, a universal human experience. Each one of us will experience it – regardless of how, or which end we find ourselves on – at some point in our lives. Each one of us deserves to have the support we need to better spend quality time with our loved ones and possess the confidence that we are providing them with the best care possible.