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3 min read

Creating the Care Journey

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Several years ago, at a work event, I picked up a button that still sits in my office where I can see it every day. It reads, “I am here to help.” At that time, I worked at a fast-growing software analytics company leading engineering teams. My job was to help everyone around me be successful, which was the best way for me to find success. And I loved that part of the role the most.

Today, as the co-founder and CTO of Caregiven, I get to take this philosophy of team success even further and extend help not only to colleagues but caregivers everywhere.

When we built the Caregiven mobile app, we had to strike a balance like any startup. On the one hand, we want to help people coordinate care through collecting and securely storing documents, keeping appointments in one place, and protected sharing within the care circle. On the other hand, there was so much we didn’t know when we were caregivers-- that’s what we, as the Caregiven team, wanted to include as learning and encouragement. So we explored ideas for helping caregivers understand the caregiving experience, and the Care Journey was born.

Talking to subject matter experts with varied backgrounds (social workers, hospice nurses, financial planners, etc.), we began to visualize caregiving in six distinct phases, each with specific milestones. We learned that there’s typically a primary caregiver, although this varies from family to family. Some family members might participate in one or two phases of caregiving, while others participate in nearly all of them. We couldn’t get everything we wanted into the initial version of our mobile app, but we continue to hone our delivery of practical information to busy caregivers when it’s useful.

Building the Care Journey was also a journey itself. For me, it brought up a lot of memories of times I was overwhelmed while caring for my mom and of grieving her passing. But we also had many discussions about how our journeys wouldn’t necessarily be like anybody else’s: some elements might be the same, but the Care Journey can’t be thought of as a linear progression. We represent this nonlinear nature of the care journey through dashed-line imagery on the main Care Journey screen. We also built a chatbot and added suggestions to the home screen to highlight relevant content for each individual. Our goal remains to deliver bite-sized chunks rather than everything at once and always give people the choice of where they want to go next.

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Another frequent topic was—and is—the tone of all articles within our app. We know that most caregivers are overwhelmed, but what if someone comes to us on a joyful day?  Some people will be taking care of a loved one who does get better. Some will be taking care of a parent or sibling who has a long-term illness that progresses slowly and experiences many good days mixed in with the tough ones. Others still will come to us in the final days of their loved one’s life. Given all these stories, how do we empower and encourage everyone at once? 

Our answer is to use a friendly tone that acknowledges the understandably broad range of emotions.

It has been gratifying to hear from people who are using Caregiven. They tell us that we found a good balance between the practical and emotional pieces of caregiving. And the word I hear most from people is “thoughtful,” with “comforting” as a close second.

We hope you’ll find that the Care Journey helps support your caregiver needs. Whether or not we’ve hit the mark for your particular journey, we’d love to hear from you. There’s a help/feedback link in the menu of our mobile app, and of course, you can reach us through the chat link on the bottom right corner of this website.

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