Family caregivers around the country have lost vital support services due to COVID-19. Now, one program is hoping to help by launching a virtual dementia care service.
The George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers in San Diego has launched a new service called GLENNERCARE to provide relief to families across the country. Members of the program call in from the safety and privacy of their homes and reach a team of dementia care specialists to help them with the challenges they are experiencing while caring for their loved one with dementia.
"It's very disrupting. Dementia patients do thrive better when they have certain expectations, you know, of what comes next," said Tanya Navaro, a GLENNERCARE social worker.
The nonprofit has also teamed up with Innovative Certified Care, a remote patient monitoring company, to help track the member's daily vital signs.
People with dementia often can't articulate when they're in pain and instead get frustrated or angry. It amounts to thousands of unnecessary emergency room visits, which can cost upwards of $70,000 per stay, putting a strain on the system.
Through remote patient monitoring, the GLENNERCARE team can help caregivers avoid a crisis in the first place.
The team says the service is not like a traditional hotline.
"We get to know our members. We get to know them, we get to know their family caregiver, we build relationships," said Navaro.
GLENNERCARE had been in the works long before the pandemic and was meant to supplement the support families were already receiving at Glenner adult day health centers.
"We were launching this program as the world changed," said Scott Tarde, CEO & Executive Director of the George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers.
Tarde says the technology caregivers receive to monitor their loved one's vital signs is easy to use.
"Let us come into your homes virtually, be there for you, and help you to avoid crisis type situations," said Tarde.
The service is available to families 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It's covered under Medicare Part B, or on a private basis for $3 a day.