Refinement phase update
After ideation, we sought to gather feedback and understand the needs of new and experienced caregivers.
From our survey results, we received a short sample that indicated that new caregivers have a strong interest for a mentorship network. We also found that while former caregivers definitely wanted to be available to new caregivers, they were particular about how they were communicated with.
Therefore, we are planning to conduct more research and gain further insight, to develop the mentorship structure and framework, and to test a pilot program and learn from the findings.
Original Empathy Research
At our Los Angeles design workshop, our team had a unique insight because of our empathy research. Our two caregivers were not looking after loved ones currently. Instead, Kevin had been the primary caregiver for his grandmother 20 years ago, while Monica worked with caregivers and dementia patients at a nonprofit to help them navigate this disease. What we learned from our empathy research was that they had a long perspective of the whole process.
Even 20 years later, Kevin still receives phone calls from new caregivers asking about what they should do, and he is actively engaged in helping them. He had gotten more involved in caregiving in his career after his grandmother passed. And Monica, of course, had a very good understanding of all the resources that organizations could make available to families and patients; Kevin also agreed with this. Each felt that the resources were out there, but that new caregivers were so new to an overly bureaucratic system, that they felt unmoored.
The online interface attempts to connect three user groups.
- The first user group is new caregivers. They have just entered a fraught time period at the beginning of the diagnosis. They are looking for answers and help. They will most likely start by searching online for some key phrases.
- The second user group is non-profits. These organizations have lots of resources and people to help. It just requires time for these new caregivers to potentially tap into them.
- The third user group is former caregivers who still are tapped by these organizations and new caregivers AND want to give back anyway.
New caregivers go to the website and input their location via zipcode. The interface provides results of nearby organizations and resources. It also provides profile results from a directory of former caregivers. In the profile, new caregivers will be able to see how close the former caregiver is, if they’re willing to meet up for coffee, if they know about resources, a description of the type of care they had to provide for the disease, etc.
These former caregivers are recruited into the directory by organizations and nonprofits who most likely already have these contacts. By having automated profile setup and matching, this frees up administrative time for nonprofits. Each former caregiver signs up and fills out a profile. Their profiles show up in results only if they are “active.” Active profiles agree to provide a set amount of volunteer time every month. For example, they might agree to be available to field phone calls 24/7. Or they might decide to host local workshops. Or they agree to watch dementia patients to help out a new caregiver.
All in all, what Hivemind tries to do is connect robust resources that already exist to new caregivers and their families. Our hope is that this will benefit pain points felt by anxious new patients and the people who love them and only want to do what’s best.