Hospice of Michigan (HOM), the largest hospice in the state, sees a major shift in patient care. A decade ago, 80 percent of its patients lived at home, cared for by their spouses or children. Today nearly half of HOM’s patients are being cared for in nursing homes or other healthcare facilities. More of the patient’s children are living out of state and are unable to participate actively in their parents’ care.
HOM is changing that.
During a special meeting of HOM’s Foundation Board at Compuware’s Detroit headquarters, the hospice provider unveiled its HOM Cares mobile app, which will allow family and friends of a patient to stay connected with the care teams of their loved one — no matter where they live.
“When our nurses can’t sit across the kitchen table from the husband or daughter of a patient we are caring for, this app can help bridge that distance,” explained Dottie Deremo, president and CEO of HOM. “HOM Cares subscribers are not simply getting a notification of a visit; they are getting a picture of the nurse, social worker or spiritual caregiver who is taking care of their loved one. They can match faces and names to backgrounds and bios so that family members can get to know our staff as if they still lived down the street.”
HOM knew early on it would need the help of partners in technology to bring its vision to life. Verizon provided funding , a $24,500 grant, to support the app’s development. Compuware Vice President Bob Kennedy, who sits on the board of the HOM Foundation, offered in-kind the services of his software development team to design and build the app.
“Mobile technology provides an opportunity to connect in ways that were never possible,” said Kennedy. “The HOM Cares app is no exception. The anytime, anywhere access that it provides eases the hospice experience, truly making a difference by providing peace of mind for people during a challenging time in their lives.”
The app is free and available for download at the Apple and Google Play app stores. It is designed for current Android and iOS devices. The app asks one family member to serve as the primary contact who will manage the network, granting access to family members, friends and neighbors. Family and friends receive automatic alerts when their patient has received a visit from a caretaker, and the app notes the date and duration of the visit.
HOM plans to expand the capabilities of the app. While the first phase focused on communication between the HOM care team, patient and family members, the next phase will allow greater two-way communication, such as sharing text messages or pictures. For HOM, these advancements in mobile technology are truly a blessing.