Individuals with developmental disabilities today are living longer, heathier lives due to improvements in understanding, health care, and community supports. As a result, there is now an aging population of individuals within this demographic that require coordinated care teams particularly when supporting complex medical needs. CareZare, Timeless, and Dementia Talk are 3 apps available for iOS and Android, (Timeless is currently only available on iOS) which are designed to provide a communication and tracking platform for individuals with dementia and their support teams. Each of these apps provide similar features: scheduling, tracking, and the ability to share notes and updates. These can be edited by any member of the team who has been registered as a care provider, with the intent of maintaining transparency and communication between all individuals involved in client care.

CareZar

Product: CareZare
Producer: North Notch Ventures LLC
Cost: Free
Compatability: iOS/Android

Ease of Use
• Requires registration prior to use; each team member must be invited, download the app, and enter a code to connect;
• Initial set-up does require some time to enter information, though information entry is a simple tap and type;

Adaptability
• Four features are offered: heads-up, journal, calendar, and tasks; though it is not possible to personalize these features beyond their basic functions for individual needs;
• Pictures can be attached using the journal feature for an alternative to text-only communication and tracking;

Accessibility
• Simple to use for care providers and provides basic features needed for communicating across a support team

Timeless

Product: Timeless
Producer: Timeless Innovations, LLC
Cost: Free
Compatability: iOS

Ease of Use
• Requires registration prior to use; primary caregiver must download the app, create a profile, then invite each team member as well as the client to do the same;
• Instructions are not clear as to how to link caregiver and client accounts requiring some trial and error to have both working properly;
• Initial set-up is time intensive, though the client app is extremely well laid out and easy to navigate.

Adaptability
• Five features are offered: updates, events, photos, face recognition, and contacts;
• Face recognition and photos are the stand out feature; caregiver is able to label individuals in photos and then the client can use the face recognition feature to take a picture of an individual and have the app match that to a name and profile;
• Client version of the app is highly visual, with limited text to increase ease of understanding;
• Updates and reminders can easily be added, with photo support, and appear on a centralized update page for both the client and other team members;

Accessibility
• Client version of the app sets Timeless apart from other dementia support apps; this simplified version allows clients to be an active participant in their care;
• Visuals support a range of users who may not be able to interpret text information alone;
• App is streamlined enough to provide a straightforward user experience while still protecting the dignity of the person served.

Dementia Talk

Product: Dementia Talk
Producer: Sinai Health System – Reitman Centre
Cost: Free
Compatability: iOS/Android

Ease of Use
• Requires registration prior to use; each team member must download the app, create a user name and profile, and then search for other team members to link;
• Initial set-up requires entry time, though the home page is well laid out and each feature easy to navigate through;

Adaptability
• Five features are offered: behaviour tracker, behaviour care plan, medication list, scheduler and caregiver corner;
• Possible to use behaviour care plan to identify challenging behaviours, search for care tips and strategies, and share these with the rest of the team;
• Lacks a notes feature to record information beyond the built-in categories;

Accessibility
• Caregiver corner feature offers self-care tips for care providers;
• Basic features support team communication, though including the ability to record a written log would increase the range of clients this app could support;
• Features best suit a care team needing a coordination tool for behaviour management;

Final Word

As all 3 of these apps are available for free download, overall ratings have been considered excluding that field. Each app has its own highlights and lowlights, but the manner in which Timeless has embraced the concept of client-centred care through its client version of the app makes it a clear standout. However, it is important to note the complex registration process and set-up required for Timeless which leaves CareZare and Dementia Talk both as close contenders. Care teams willing to look past the initial challenges will be able to access Timeless’s well-designed features that are flexible enough to maintain quality support over time as individual care needs change.

For care providers seeking a quick set-up and a strict communication tool for their support team may prefer CareZare for its straightforward, tap and type features; though over time this app may not be able to accommodate for complex care plans. Dementia Talk provides the specific care management features that CareZare lacks, though is hindered by its limited platform for open caregiver communication. These 2 apps may work well when used in tandem, though that will increase the difficulty of initial set-up and on-going maintenance may be a challenge to ensure continuity of information between them.

Though all 3 of these apps have privacy features and a privacy policy readily available online, consideration prior to use must be given based on individual organizational privacy guidelines and informed client consent. Overall, technology supports should be chosen considering a variety of factors: client profile; client and caregiver support needs; technological skills level; etc. No single app will provide every feature desired, and it is often a combination of technological and traditional support methods that best ensures a well-connected care team. Each of these apps provide caregiver supports in their own way and regardless of if and what technological solutions are chosen, the more resources available and better supported a care team is, the higher the quality of care they will be able to provide to their clients.

Posted by dda-editor in: News