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iCare - the app!

A mobile app to help families care for their loved ones

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

This idea is designed for anyone! At some point, whether we like it or not, we may be in a situation where we need to care for a dying or sick family member, friend or neighbour. I imagine it would be really overwhelming and potentially complicated to try and juggle the many different tasks needed to be carried out to provide the right care for them. This app would be a means of simplifying the 'caring' process and making it easier for all involved!

My research with my team at Imperial College Business School showed that many family members struggle with the burden of caring for dying patients at home and this is one of the core reasons why many patients are sent to hospital and are unable to die in their preferred place. This can drastically impact their quality of life towards the end and also leave a sense of guilt with the family who were unable to provide for them or care for them effectively. One of the reasons why family members find it so difficult to cope is because the NHS services available are often fragmented and it can be difficult to know what to do and when; when is the right time to call an ambulance, what should I expect to happen physically to this patient, how do I provide the patient with the right care, who do I call if X,Y or Z happens? 

This idea, iCare, imagines a user-friendly and engaging platform (mobile app) that simplifies end of life care and makes it really simple. I envisage that it would include step-by-step tutorials of how to carry out certain tasks to look after their loved one. It would also have a comprehensive directory of all the voluntary, NHS and private services available (with a geo feature to help people find their 'local' one).  Services listed could include night sitters/carers, social care and nurses etc. 

The app would also have features such as daily reminders e.g. 'have you remembered to given Dad his medicines today?' and also positive messages to encourage the carer and remind them that they're doing a great job! For this, the app could have an animated character to deliver such messages.

The app could have a feature where the to-do lists and reminders and synched to other users' phones if there is more than one carer e.g. if a man and his wife are both looking after a grandparent, both husband and wife could update and edit their page e.g. add a new medication. The app could be very interactive and engaging to help users keep up with their tasks. 

The app would also be useful if someone else needed to look after the patient at home one day because all the information needed such as daily tasks to carry out e..g 'change bedpan' etc. would be listed on the app and can be checked off.  

The app could have detailed information on the person being cared for such as their food, drink, music and TV preferences and allergies so that anyone looking after the person will know how to best care for them and make them comfortable so all their wishes are adhered to. 

It would also have an updated FAQ section where people can read and respond to. There could be a social element to the app where users could interact with other users and learn from their experiences.

For patient security reasons, the app would require a strong security system, such as pass codes and encryption.

Mobile health is on the rise and has huge potential to improve End of Life care in the 21st century! 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

In the absence of a minimally viable prototype, I would speak to people and carry out interviews to ask them whether or not they feel that they would benefit from such a platform. If the response is positive, the next step would be to develop a paper prototype and then a clickable prototype that can be used on phones to demonstrate how the app would work.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

A strong design team, including graphic designers and app developers to help bring the app alive! Especially input from people with experience in digital health and mhealth.

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm a 5th year medical student. I've worked with a team of students on end of life care research, taken part in hackathons and run design workshops recently. I also have some art, design, photoshop and business experience. I have been working within teams for 2 separate mhealth apps in the last year

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

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Aaniya I really like this idea! I think people are very in need of a collaborative communication and work platform for providing care. Do you have thoughts on what an MVP could look like using existing productivity and communication tools?