Personal POV: A disconnected caregiver navigating disconnected care

Personal POV: A disconnected caregiver navigating disconnected care

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By: Melissa Kozak, RN, BSN, President & Co-Founder, CitusHealth

In this blog series, our CitusHealth employees share personal stories about their experiences having family members and loved ones in home-based or residential care—and how technology could have led to more positive outcomes.

I have a close family member who lives in a long-term brain injury facility. As their primary caretaker and power of attorney, I would make frequent visits to see them in person before COVID-19. Like many experienced during the pandemic, nursing homes went into massive shutdowns. And for those like me with a loved one in residence in a facility, they were quarantined to their rooms and unable to visit with family and caregivers.

Daily recreational activities shut down, visitors weren’t allowed, and residents were confined to their rooms for over a year. My family member didn’t have a cell phone at the time, so I had to rely on calling staff on their floor to get in touch. The problem with that was the staffing shortage made it near impossible to get through. I would call every 15 minutes all day just to try to get one staff member to pick up the phone. It was near impossible to get through to a staff member every day, keeping me from providing the emotional support needed during that difficult time.

After about a year, the facility allowed window visits, where they would escort patients to the main level for family members to see each other through a large pane of glass while talking on the phone. These were challenging visits, particularly due to the brain injury, my family member would get frustrated not fully understanding what was happening and not hearing well.

Shining a light on the need for innovation
During this time, I thought about a solution like CitusHealth and how beneficial it would’ve been to securely message the care team as well as other stakeholders like occupational therapy, speech therapy, dieticians, and others. Patient discussion groups (PDGs) would have allowed these different disciplines to interact with one another to help ensure better care for my family member.

Video chat would have also allowed for more emotional support during such long times of isolation.

Collaboration can lead to better outcomes
The lack of ability to work cohesively with the care team around the facility caused frustration due to poor nutrition communication and poor communication with me as the power of attorney. Finding ways to drive collaboration and modernize communication with the right digital tools could have avoided this kind of failure.

Bringing CitusHealth to the market has transformed the way care teams, patients, and families collaborate. And while my family member didn’t have a positive care experience during this time, I’m hopeful knowing that our innovative approach to connected care will contribute to better outcomes moving forward.

Request a demo today and we’ll show you the difference CitusHealth can make for more collaborative, cohesive care in the home and beyond.

Melissa Kozak
Melissa Kozak
RN, BSN, Co-Founder, President, CitusHealth

As a registered nurse, Melissa has a deep understanding of the post-acute industry. Her extensive clinical care and operational insight led her to become the visionary entrepreneur she is today. With CitusHealth, she’s created our industry’s first end-to-end digital health collaboration platform to solve the complexities of managing post-acute continuum of care and patient and family engagement challenges.