Do you take any regular medications or help a loved one keep track of their medications? Difficult isn’t it? Anyone you know come back from the hospital all whacked out and in pain? Suddenly, without a lot of preparation (apart from a whole bunch of paper and a low grade talk from a nurse delivered as you polished off any remaining Jello and gruel on the food tray, while looking at your to-be patient groaning, or alternatively, talking like a parrot, while doing pirouettes and plies on their replaced knee, feeling no pain, due to masses of painkillers) you now find yourself home changing a dressing, helping them move around, organizing and giving meds, making sure they get to the bathroom, eat their meals, etc.. It can be rewarding to help someone, but also a lot of pressure, tiring and when meds and chronic health conditions are involved, risky and if you do something wrong, it could be potentially life threatening. So, think about people who provide care in the community working with individuals with disabilities as Direct Support Professionals (DSP). The DSP shoulders a lot of responsibility. They are out in the home of the individual, remote from doctors and nursing, but often providing care like that historically given in a hospital, or nursing home.
To help DSPs provide care that is timely, and to improve health outcomes, our point of care application, MedSupport allows nursing to schedule care events, including med passes at the home and allows the DSP to report back outcomes that are used to co-ordinate care with clinicians and case managers. MedSupport also generates much of the point of care paperwork that creates stress and can unnecessarily distract the DSP from providing care. It works great, significantly improving health outcomes, eliminating paper, and sending out alerts to remote clinicians if something is amiss with the individual (med given late, Blood Pressure outside of an acceptable range, no bowel movement, etc..).
One question I get asked is how well are DSPs trained? DSPs are trained by the provider to achieve certain standards before they are allowed to provide care. In addition, most states require a Med Administration (and other Health-Related Activities) Certification. This can be, for example, a 14 hour class with requirement for annual renewal.
To help DSPs stay current with their certification MedSupport reminds DSPs when their certification is expiring, and if certification is not renewed, then the DSP is stopped from passing meds on the system.
This is the future of healthcare. People being cared for in their homes, with systems connected remotely to clinicians. In many cases increased home monitoring, but still we will need more DSP type people to provide care, and what is more, they need to be efficiently trained, certified and confident in their role.
I know during the times I have been thrown into the caregiver role I would have benefited from some improved education and even certification. It was challenging and stressful to have the life of an individual balanced on decisions I made.
So, a big thanks to those working as DSPs and those working on certification and training programs. You are providing much appreciated care while building the future of healthcare.