It goes without saying that 2020 has been the most challenging year yet for the aged care sector. The pressure of the ongoing Royal Commission, the challenges of transitioning to the Single Aged Care Quality Standards and the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have fast tracked some much needed change.
When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the sweeping changes that would impact aged care facilities across Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, we saw some aged care facilities take a swift and proactive approach with lockdowns, while others implemented restrictive visiting rules.
I knew that these visitor restrictions would put even more pressure on the already stretched aged care sector and the most vulnerable members of our community. So, soon after the announcement, I quickly got my team together to discuss how we could play our role to support the community. We decided to offer CareApp for free for all aged care facilities Australia-wide as our way to show the aged care sector that “We’ve got you” in these most challenging and unprecedented times.
Sadly, it didn’t take long and COVID-19 outbreaks started to happen in facilities across Australia, panic and fear was rife, and understandably so.
I can only imagine what it would have been like to be working at a typical 200-bed facility during this time. The manager would have been dealing with probably hundreds of calls, texts and emails from concerned family members and friends wanting to know what is going on, can they come and visit and if not, how they will remain adequately connected to their loved ones during these lockdowns?
It didn’t take long and we saw stories come to light where family members were being either turned away or restricted from seeing their loved ones. This was so heartbreaking.
As CareApp provides a personalised and reassuring window into the care and wellbeing of residents to their loved ones and keeps families connected, we knew our platform would be an extremely useful tool that facilities could use to ensure some peace of mind for families and reduce some anxiety they were feeling because of the isolation of their loved ones. Our goal was to get CareApp into as many facilities as possible and alleviate the pressure they were under.
The uptake and the way CareApp was embraced so quickly and trusted as part of the facilities’ care experience is something I could not have dreamt of. Aged care providers have praised CareApp and our ability to respond with care, work sensitively with homes and act not just as a piece of technology, but an extension of their communications team. I think that says everything about the type of company CareApp is and what we offer our customers.
The year 2020 for us will be remembered as a year of significant growth. Growth not just in the number of facilities we have on board and new team members we welcomed, but growth in the way we have completely overhauled CareApp.
With our thoughtful and intuitive design that empowers care teams and engages families with a seamless experience across smart devices and web browsers, quite frankly, CareApp doesn’t even resemble the platform it was anymore. And this is a big indicator of growth!
So what have we achieved? We added the FAB button for easy content creation, developed our own live video chat feature, created an easy to use wellbeing check, created memorialisation videos as a beautiful way to remember valued resident, worked on API for integration with other platforms and our new performance centre means we can measure CareApp usage and engagement for all our customers.
We have been so blown away this year by the level of engagement by our amazing CareApp users and as they say, the stats don’t lie.
- CareApp is now in over 200 facilities across Australia and in every state and territory, with the only exception being the ACT.
- We saw a huge level of engagement from you all with over 700,000 engagements including, photos, videos, video chats, messages, and notices.
- And with tens of thousands of families supported and connected, we are so proud of our contribution to the community.
I know there have been some important lessons learned this year which has sparked some changes in the aged care sector, but we still have a way to go. The final report for the Royal Commission is due on 26 February 2021 and I am sure the recommendations and the implementation of them will provide more reassurance that our most vulnerable members of the community are valued and treated with respect and dignity.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for your continued support and belief in CareApp. I am beyond grateful, but as you know it takes a village. Massive thank you to my team who have dedicated so much time and effort into our absolute bumper year. I appreciate you so much.
As 2021 rolls around, I am hopeful that the world can start to find some sense of normality but as we have all read and seen, it seems like we will be adjusting to a “new normal”.
So bring on 2021, I can’t wait to see what it has in store for us. I will continue to push CareApp to flourish as we change the narrative in aged care. We’re not done yet!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!