Care Konnect, developed by Chief Executive Officer Sean Grealy, is an app that incorporates a real-time feed to allow loved ones and aged care providers to all stay informed, involved and connected like never before.
The up-to-date technology replaces the need for email, text messages and phone calls to give all included the opportunity to share the highlights and positive day-to-days of healthy ageing all on one platform, in real time.
Mr Grealy says he developed the app, which today is connecting many older people with their family, friends and service providers, was originally as a way of connecting his own family around his Grandfather.
“As our parents age and our lives become busier, it is often hard to stay connected,” he explains.
“Whether the older person lives in the community, retirement living or residential care - keeping the family connected is essential to the health and well-being of the older person and sustaining family ties.”
He adds that Care Konnect has been tailored in user experience, having worked with a number of service providers and carers across Australia to create the “unique but familiar app” that “anyone can use”.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LHI Retirement Services Graham Reed has experienced first-hand the vital role Care Konnect plays in connecting people “like never before”.
“I first heard about Care Konnect through the South Australian Economic Development Board at a time when I was looking at software for a past client in my previous role,” he explains.
“The client had experienced a stroke and I was looking for ways to connect her to her friends and community and this stood out as an option with opportunities, so I went to Thinclab and started up a conversation.”
Mr Reed says he believes technology like Care Konnect, while important now, will play an even more vital role in the future.
“Any means we can support to enable families to connect is going to be important,” he says.
“Feedback electronically is now becoming the norm - people don’t ring or write letters - they post, Tweet and Facebook message.
“Care Konnect is a secure environment for us all to connect on so I think it is definitely the future.”
Currently LHI has rolled out the technology within their residential aged care services, noticing positive experiences among all users, with Mr Reed saying the organisation is looking to expand it into their retirement living sector.
“It is early days, but having spoken to families using the app, they have all shared very positive experiences,” he explains.
“They can all share stories between each other, as can we, and that’s a huge positive.
“It is also great that it's not something that is controlled and triggered by us, the provider, we can participate but we don’t own it.
“I do think this is the future of communication between consumers and their representatives and providers.
“If we look at where we have come from, it's been the provider dealing with the resident, and the family has only connected through visits, but this way families can connect without visiting, however it does work best in conjunction with face-to-face visits.
“Hearing the stories to me is positive and I love hearing about the connections that are happening.
“To me, that’s important.
“Care Konnect helps to tackle the challenges faced by those living in aged care such as loneliness, isolation and boredom - it's a great way of connecting people.”
Jacqueline Stockley is one of the family members of an aged care resident who participated in the trial with LHI, who know firsthand the benefits of such technology.
“My mum is a resident at Lutheran Homes and both my sister and I were lucky enough to be involved in the trial they ran,” Ms Stockley explains.
“It was very reassuring to see what mum was up to during the day - as she suffers from dementia - knowing what she had been up to during the day and week it helped with having meaningful conversations about her day with her.
“This helps us from not having to play phone tag with the nursing home - they can now send messages through the app.
“My sister and I now both find out about things at the same time rather they having to relay the messages to each other.”
Ms Stockley says it was also a benefit to her and offered peace of mind when she was away travelling.
“During the trial I was travelling overseas for work and the app made it so easy for me to know what mum was doing,” she says.
“I could send messages to the staff to ask them to remind her I was travelling for work which was reassuring for mum. It also helps me to keep an eye on dad when they posted photos of them together.”
With such a positive outcome experience by all involved in Ms Stockley’s family - including her now 16 and 20 year old children who she says are close to their grandmother - she encourages others to get on board with the technology because of “how easy it is to use” and the fact that “it really is a great communication tool”.
Mr Reed, with his focus on the future, says the influx of baby boomers will see this technology step up even more - noting that this incoming generation will be “better connected than their parents”.
“As we see more of this generation come into care, picking up technology and accepting it as part of life, we will see this become more mainstream.
“The Care Konnect tool will evolve over time and become even more important in people’s lives.”
More information about Care Konnect is available online.