There are roughly 40 million caregivers providing in-home care to loved ones and family members in the United States, and when these caregivers seek professional seek help from professional at-home caregivers, they overwhelmingly want to use technology to do it.
That’s according to a recent study from AARP called Designing Technology for Caregivers: Understanding What Works and What Doesn’t.
AARP looked at how family caregivers respond to technology over six weeks, including utilizing a care coordination platform, utilizing a personal emergency response systems (PERS) pilot, and engaging with a home care aide hiring and recruiting platform. The three pilot tests sought to use technology to help caregivers overcome three identified challenges—care coordination, emergency alerting. and selecting and hiring in-home aides.
Among the findings, nearly all caregivers—94%—said they desire to use online services for selecting a home aide. More than one-third of participants also said they have previously considered using an online service to hire an aide, but found it to be cost prohibitive.
Furthermore, 82% of study participants found a suitable home aide using the hiring platform tested in the pilot, and 100% of those caregivers were satisfied with the care procured through the platform, which helped address several issues related to hiring in-home care services, including costs, vetting/screening, scheduling and compatibility.
“This pilot research engaged with caregivers at varying points in their caregiving experience, enabling us to understand the range of challenges they face and how technology can be used to enhance the care they provide at each stage,” Dr. Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research with AARP, said in a statement. “The findings show that caregivers see an opportunity for technology to better support them, but that the design must consider the unique aspects of caregiving and offer as much flexibility as possible.”
The majority of caregivers who sought professional help for loved ones used Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance to pay for in-home care, but found these payers restricting, stating they lacked “real choice.”
Some of the barriers involved with using online platforms to find home care included having to payout of pocket for quality care, according to the report.
Written by Amy Baxter