Coordinating Dementia Care
Caring for a loved one suffering from dementia is an extremely taxing and stressful experience. Often a single person is tasked with the majority of the work, with secondary caregivers unsure of when to step in and help. 69% of people say that caring for a loved one is the number one source of stress in their lives. At the same time, 75% of people say that caring for a loved one gives them a sense of pride (Caring.com Caregiver Survey, Nov 2010).
How might we decrease the burden of caring for a loved one with dementia while increasing the pride people feel when they care for a loved one in need?
SuperCare is an emergency system that helps delegate and communicate care between multiple caregivers. One of the most common emergencies for dementia patients is wandering off and getting lost. With SuperCare, when a dementia patient wanders outside their designated safety zone, the system intelligently delegates one of the caregivers in their network to retrieve them and return them home safely. SuperCare also encourages gratitude and appreciation among caregivers, to foster a community centered on the patient.
Coordinating a Network of Care
One of our biggest challenges in designing SuperCare was balancing the involvement of multiple caregivers. In the prototype above, we explored two sides of the same event, one from the point of view of a secondary caregiver who is called upon to help, and the other from the point of view of the primary caregiver who wants to be kept up-to-date.
In this user flow diagram, you can see how each caregiver's actions are intertwined, and how SuperCare decides when and who to reach out to with updates.
Pairs with GPS Tracking Bracelet
SuperCare pairs with a smart bracelet that detects GPS to allow the dementia patient a level of independence. Either the dementia patient or a caregiver can set a safety perimeter around their living space. In the event of a wandering episode, SuperCare would kick into action.
Delegates Care Among Network
When a patient wanders outside their safety zone, the nearest caregiver is asked to help retrieve them. If that caregiver is not available, the system will move on to the next caregiver.
Encourages Community of Caregivers
There is also a place in the app for caregivers to appreciate and acknowledge each other's efforts. As a way to create community among the caregivers around the loved one they all care for, after an event has been resolved, other caregivers in the network can comment and send kudos.
In order to validate this idea, we would need to confront several assumptions we made during the design process. Our main questions to answer through prototyping and testing would be:
Will there be enough people in the patient’s life to create a network of caregivers?
Will caregivers be motivated enough to drop what they are doing in the moment of an emergency?
Are dementia patients unable to recover from wandering episodes by themselves?