Aging Solutions needed a way to capture and access data in real-time, to thoroughly monitor and document patient needs and care.
Digital forms allow Aging Solutions personnel to capture more complete, detailed information regarding patient behavior and care, resulting in more efficient stabilization and improved communication between their staff and a patient’s support system.
Since 1997, Aging Solutions has provided Client-Centered Care Management to elderly and disabled adults, helping to “find reliable home care, transition aging parents to new, safe living situations, and act as the eyes and ears of adult children living far away.” Pioneering the CARE Method, Aging Solutions collaborates with patients, their families, and their medical professionals to provide holistic care and improve each patient’s quality of life.
Aging Solutions has provided exemplary elder care since 1997, relying on manual data capture to monitor and track the progress of their patients. “We were using paper forms,” recalled Terri Abelar, CEO of Aging Solutions. “If we were overseeing the care of an elder at home, or living in a senior community, there would be certain things that we needed to track: how much food they were eating, if they were drinking fluids, if they were having any sort of change in their medical condition, or if there was any sort of behavioral issues.”
In 2017, Terri and her team developed the CARE Method Program, a special program for individuals with dementia who were deemed unstable. “It’s an intervention program, which means that families come to us,” explained Terri, noting that the CARE Method Program began when a family member observed their loved one experience agitation, irritation, or violence. Often, in these instances, primary care physicians may not know what to do to best address an individual’s needs, requiring a more thorough, regular analysis of their behavior. For this reason, the CARE Method was developed, striving to improve each patient’s quality of life through four cohesive strategies: Collaborate, Assess, Review, Enrich.
To illustrate the importance of the CARE Method, Terri illustrated the fragile circumstances many of their patients face. “We had a gentleman who was living in an assisted living community, where you dine together, have activities, and your own room,” Terri recalled. “His behavior changed and they were going to evict him. In that community, they determined that because of his problems they could not manage him, and he was going to have to leave. The problem was that he would never get into any other community.” Using the CARE Method and GoFormz, Aging Solutions managed to gather enough data to conclude what adjustments were necessary to treat the individual, and helped to stabilize him. “We used GoFormz to identify all of these different factors, day-to-day, night-to-night, and then we were able to change his medications and make adjustments… within eight weeks, everything had changed and he was asked to stay.”
The CARE Method quickly outgrew paper forms, relying on comprehensive, regularly incoming data to best curate each individual’s custom program. “We developed a program that is very dependent upon collecting data and it was very clear that we needed to be as efficient as possible, so we could review that data right away,” Terri explained. This program initially requires around the clock observation of each patient, as well as thorough documentation by the Aging Solutions team of a patient’s behaviors, medications, food and drink, and more. “The Care Method Program is the only method in the world that does this, so data is very important to us.”
“Prior to this method you’d have a nurse stop by twice a week, and because the patient was not experiencing a crisis, she could have time to catch up and see how things were going,” Terri continued. “With the CARE Method Program, we need to be in real-time as much as possible.” As paper forms do not lend themselves to real-time efficiency, Terri and her team sought a digital data capture solution that would accommodate the flexibility and efficiency Aging Solutions needed, and selected GoFormz as their platform.
As each CARE Method Program is customized to an individual’s needs, Aging Solutions needed to be able to rapidly tailor their mobile form templates to incorporate modifications. As Aging Solutions gathers their patient data, they can then collaborate with each patient’s unique support system. “When we bring in a patient, we pull in their medical records and tons of data first. We then do extensive interviews with family members and sit down with the psychiatrist and our team. The psychiatrist then tells us what they want documented and recorded.”
Digital forms have provided Aging Solutions with a flexible, dynamic, and compliant means of data capture. “With GoFormz, we could customize everything,” Terri detailed. “For instance, we work with a psychiatrist and she might identify five different patient behaviors that we would need to track whenever we see them. [With GoFormz], we can track them in a log and we even get a timestamp.”
Leveraging GoFormz, Aging Solutions can now efficiently modify their digital forms and rapidly train their staff. “We can customize our forms, train people to fill them out properly, and we now get data about every twelve hours. Each client is monitored differently. So while we might be collecting certain information this week, the doctor might say I’ve got that figured out, let’s now collect this type of data. So every week, we adjust, and it is all based on their behaviors and what the psychiatrist deems necessary.”
This efficiency has resulted in the rapid stabilization of the program’s patients. “Our program stabilizes people in about four weeks, and the data is really the most critical part. Let’s say you have an individual in assisted living and he has a caregiver who is going to be with him all day, shadowing him. They can give us the data and within a week we have a really good feel for what we need to do to make changes, and after around three weeks, have them stabilized.”
One of the most compelling results of digitizing their patient data capture has been the drastic communication improvements between Aging Solutions personnel, doctors, and family members. As doctors are not with their patients for longer than their designated appointment, the comprehensive data presented by the Aging Solutions is transformative, allowing them to make more informed, impactful decisions. “For instance, if we’re going to go see a doctor, and we’re working with a particular individual, we’re going to bring this data to them, which doctors don't get usually from anybody,” explained Terri. “So it might show that they were on twelve medications when we started and now we’ve got them down to four. We can include graphics, and a chart, and the doctors can see it in a flash. It’s been very critical to our success.”
For families, Aging Solutions careful observation and thorough documentation provides comfort and understanding. “If a patient has behavioural issues, family members get very upset when they see their loved ones upset,” Terri explained. “As much as we can talk about their care and describe it, it’s when you see those numbers and show them these patterns, that puts people at ease… we need to extract what we think is meaningful to them, and GoFormz helps us with that.”
“Our focus is, you should be spending time enjoying this person, not trying to figure out what to do,” Terri elaborated. “GoFormz has been very successful for us.”