My dad was institutionalized two years ago, rather to my surprise with a nasty form of dementia. Fortunately it times close to a planned family holiday and we could gather his children ("the family") not long after. My dad truly struggled in the hospital setting - not knowing if he was trapped in an airport or on a construction site (he was a mechanical engineer) on our first visit.
My dad has a loving wife who cares for him. My brothers and sisters are a 6-8 hr drive away and can manage to visit on rare occasions. I however live on the other side of the world - 12hr time zone out of sync, not a short visit away.
While I provide some "glue" to bring my family together for regular calls, I struggle to know what is happening day to day with my father. Updates do not come from the hospital, nor doctors.
I'd personally love some style of webpage with updates, even a "pretty fine this week" from a nurse, or photo of my dad wondering the halls of the institution. He struggles to understand Skype or video but I imagine would respond well to being sent photos or stories directly to his hospital.
some device for photos or communication should be easy to pull off today to enable remote people to be a part of the care giving process, build connections and help the patient connect with the outside world better.
How does this help the local care giver - offers new topic of conversation, better connections to family help the patient, less need to contact distant relatives when it may all be too much, and creating another (potentially virtual) shoulder to lean on.