When I was 36 weeks pregnant, a routine ultrasound landed us at the office of a perinatologist, who proceeded to tell us that our unborn baby had a severe brain malformation that was incompatible with life. He explained that there was a 1 in 20 million chance that our child would survive past 1 year old.
My son, Nathan, will soon turn 7 years old. He is our miracle child. He defied all expectations, and is a happy little boy who loves the world. Unfortunately, the brain malformation has caused a myriad of medical problems, from respiratory to immune to orthopedic issues.
In the last 7 years, we’ve been in and out of hospitals more times than I can count, and have learned to navigate the medical system.
When my son was only 4 months old, he went through a surgery to place a shunt in his skull, to drain excessive fluid from his brain. Even though it was major brain surgery, he was sent home after only 2 days of recovery in the hospital. We thought it was too soon, and had seen some signs that were alarming. Yet off we were sent with our little bundle, brand new parents, new to the medical/disability world. As soon as we got home, our son became feverish, pale, and started crying continuously. Clueless, with terrible post-discharge management, we didn’t know what to do. We called the doctor who performed the surgery who, without examining him, sent us back home saying everything was fine. This went on for 3 weeks, while we did our best to console our sick and feverish child.
Finally, after about a month of torture for our little boy, we went to the emergency room and told them we wouldn’t leave until someone addressed our issues. Sure enough, our son had contracted a severe meningitis during the surgery, that raged through his brain for a month, taking away what healthy brain tissue he had.
Better discharge planning would’ve helped our son to have a better quality of life. If someone had truly given us a follow up plan, and information on how to receive immediate attention if this symptoms presented themselves, my son’s life today would be a different one.
Facilitating Health Care Transitions & Management
Since those early days, and as technology has progressed, I can now safely say that I’ve found tools to help us transition our son between hospital and home care. These tools have been instrumental in helping us, and our nurses, care effectively for Nathan, minimizing mistakes and discomfort for him.
Health care management takes a lot of organization and planning, particularly when you’re dealing with the prospect of changing between hospital-based care and home based care. In the hospital, the nurses are in charge of all medications, feeds, and every aspect of the patient’s care. When discharged, all of those responsibilities fall upon the shoulders of caregivers. When was the last medication given? What treatments were done to address problems? All of this needs to be documented and available to the caregiver.
Managing the transition from a hospital setting to a home setting is no easy task, so it helps to have a few apps on hand to keep things in order and make sure that you’re managing the switch and keeping everything organized effectively so that patients get the best possible medical care, regardless of where they’re at.
Here are five apps that you can use to help manage staff, assignments and other tasks related to home and hospital care.
This is essentially a personal record keeping app to replace paper documents and loose information that might be strewn between several physical locations. You can keep track of health information for any of number people, which can be extremely helpful if you’re trying to manage the health of someone in a home care situation.
It’s amazing that this app is free, considering the vast amount of information it holds and how comprehensive it is.
When transitioning a patient’s information or keeping track of a patient who’s not staying in the hospital any longer, this is one of the best management apps available. Developed by doctors, this app has a variety of tools to help diagnose, treat and determine prognosis.
3. Cake Health
This app will break down charges for a patient and will even connect to their insurance company for easy retrieval of coverage and pricing information. The app is mostly devoted to tracking health care coverage and expenses, making it a crucial piece to the health care management puzzle.
4. Health Trace
Health Trace is an app that is specifically designed to help you keep track of a person’s health issues, mostly as it relates to their symptoms. You can easily record symptoms in great detail, while also recording medicine and medical events that might result from or cause the symptoms.
Podio is basically a team-based productivity tool that allows you to work with other people. This can be particularly handy for nurses and doctors where they’re overseeing and working with a large number of other professionals. This app can be customized for each patient so you are only storing the information relevant to that patient, and the patient and their family can also update it to make the transition between nursing and family care seamless.
Podio has been a lifesaver for us, especially after complicated surgeries. 8 weeks ago my son had major orthopedic surgery, and required an intense amount of record-keeping and collaboration. His entire team, including us as his family, his in-home nurses, as well as his Pediatrician, Orthopedic Doctor, and Pain Management doctor, needed to be kept up to date of lots of different aspects of his care, including bowel movements, last times medications were given, symptoms and pain levels. Customizing Podio to the situation allowed us to safely navigate through the post-surgical transition, with everyone on the same page and errors minimized.
These tools can’t do your job for you, but they can definitely help you to keep working efficiently and effectively while you manage health care transitions and health care employees. Keeping track of information effectively can sometimes be the difference between a seamless and a painless transition, so keeping these apps in a mobile device, accessible to all, can make a fundamental difference.
Have you used any of these apps? If so, which do you prefer?
About the Author:
Marcela De Vivo works as a caregiver for PresidioHomeCare, focusing mostly on providing care for her son who has Holoprosencephaly. Her passion is helping others through her own knowledge and experiences. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to connect.