Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Connecting Caregivers With Mobile Technology

This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

While I used some apps when helping to care for my mother who was on dialysis, there are many more available these days.  One of the best things is as long as everyone who is a caregiver has the password, each person can access the information on their Apple iPhone 7.   Back in 2012, we primarily used texting and phone calls.  My mother didn't have a smart phone, so I tracked everything on mine, and my health was bad at the time, so there was a lot of use of my cell phone!

There are apps that can help keep track of everything from doctor's appointments to reminders to take medicine.  Also, there are a number of great apps that help keep track of weight, diet, exercise, blood sugar, sleep patterns, and more.  You would be amazed how much more accurately your doctor can diagnose and treat someone if they have all this in front of them!

A recent study by Ketchum mHealth Monitor says that 58% of Americans with a smart phone have shared information with a medical professional over the Internet on their phone, mobile app, or wearable device.  The only thing that surprises me about this number is I would think it would be higher.  There are so many great ways to share information with your doctor or a nurse.  Many insurance companies have a nurse on call 24 hours a day where you can get medical questions answered.  Having this number programed into your phone is something that I think everyone should do!  Also, 47% of smart phone users have apps that track fitness, health or medicine, and 83% use these once a week.

Another great thing that some doctors and therapists offer is Skype consultation.  With our insurance company, our co-pay is 50% less for a virtual doctor visit than one in person!  My husband has seen a doctor virtually twice, and I have been in the sessions with him.  It's a little odd at first to be looking at a computer, but for some things there is no need to have a doctor in the room.  A friend used a doctor appointment like this to have a sinus infection diagnosed.  She sent her husband to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine that was prescribed and she was able to stay in bed the whole day.  What a wonderful use of technology when you are sick!  Skype is also a wonderful way for people to visit with one another.  I remember when my husband's grandfather visited with his sister this way because they both were too frail to travel to see each other.

A couple apps I have been using for years are ones for my pharmacies.  Not only do they give me coupons (and who can't use a discount on over the counter medicines from time to time), but I can scan my pill bottles and the refills will be ready by the time I get to the pharmacy.  It's super convenient, and often the app will send you a reminder when it's time to get a refill and you will just have to say you want to have it filled!

Another great app is the Medisafe Pill reminder, medication and prescription organizer.  This is the number one app pharmacists recommend to help you remember when to take your medicines.  I hadn't been through foster parent  or elder care training when I took care of my mother, and they require everything written down -- but if you aren't in a situation that REQUIRES it, this is a fantastic app to keep everything organized.  Goodness knows, I had a difficult time remembering what medicines were taken when.  There were some that were every four hours, some every six, some once a day in the morning, some once a day in the evening.  I remember my grandmother used to have to take 3 pills one day and 2 the next of one of her medicines.  That is impossible to keep track of without a good system, and so I highly recommend this app.

CareZone is another great tool because you can document symptoms for easy reference during doctor appointments, keep track of appointments, get reminders for prescription refills and organize and share important numbers and e-mails.

First Aid by American Red Cross is something that everyone should have.  With a touch, you will have instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies.  I sat through EMT training with my dad when I was eight years old.  When I got certified in CPR / First Aid, my instructor asked how I had so much medical knowledge.  I guess I learned a lot while sitting quietly and coloring while Dad was taking the class.  I also highly recommend other online learning to watch videos and read articles about first aid emergencies that might be unique to you.  Before I was trained in CPR, I was in a situation where the knowledge could have ben useful.  When I received my training, I asked how to do CPR on someone with a ventilator because I suspected it might be a little different from what we were being taught.  I knew I could be in that situation again, and wanted to know how to react instantly.

A final app I will mention is the MySugr app.  This is great for diabetics because you can put in your blood sugar reading.  It will track it, and give you an ESTIMATE of your A1c after using it regularly for a while!  It is the one diabetes management app I have heard the most about, and a friend who was in the hospital for some time with diabetic ketoacidosis uses this app to help him stay healthy!  Monitoring your blood sugar is extremely important for a diabetic and this is one app to certainly check out!

It's easier than ever to help keep track of your health using your cell phone.  Another way you can help your loved ones stay safe is with the free printable from U.S. Cellular to help discuss technology usage and safety with your child.  It is just one click away, and it's totally customizable!

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