The need for caregivers to stay connected to love ones and service providers for knowledge and support continues to be critical according to a new study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH). The study finds that the cost of uncompensated caregiving is approaching $375 billion dollars annually and that the use of technology can assist with the emotional and financial burden felt by family caregivers.
The e-Connected Family Caregiver: Bringing Caregiving into the 21st Century study looked at caregivers’ receptiveness to the use of technology, including web-based and mobile technologies, and how that technology could help them deliver better care. Some of the findings include:
- 77% believe that technology use could save them time
- 76% believed that technology would make caregiving easier logistically
- 75% believe that technology could make the care recipient safer
- 74% believe that technology could help with the reduction of stress
- 70% use the internet for information or support
“We know that our nation’s caregivers often put the needs of their care recipients ahead of their own, which can compromise their own health and create a stressful lifestyle,” said Dr. Richard Migliori, executive vice president, Business Initiatives and Clinical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “It’s encouraging to see that caregivers are open to incorporating technology into their caregiving routine as a way to make their jobs easier. As the technology and health care industries increasingly use these kinds of tools to improve care in hospitals and doctors’ offices, this survey is a reminder that these improvements could be equally helpful where care matters most – in the home. The use of new technologies can be a powerful tool to keep seniors independent as long as possible and support family caregivers.”
The study evaluated 12 technologies and found that three appeared to have the greatest probable impact given the responses from the study’s participants. Those technologies include personal health record tracking, a caregiving coordination system and a medication support system.
“Caregivers know that technology can be used to help them understand their loved one’s conditions and find resources and even support,” said Gail Hunt, CEO and president of the National Alliance for Caregiving. “With this survey, we wanted to look at what’s next with technologies that can be brought to bear to help caregivers focus not only on the health of their loved one but their own health as well.”
View the entire study: e-Connected Family Caregiver: Bringing Caregiving into the 21st Century