Welcome to part two of my series on smart phone apps for people with traumatic brain injuries and their caregivers. The apps included here are recommended specifically for caregivers. The importance of these easily accessible tools can’t be overstated – their use can help maintain and improve care for both the patient/client and the caregiver by promoting independence while improving memory and safety.
While most of the recommended apps are for Apple products, numerous others function on Android too. They can all help you make your critical job as a caregiver – and your life – function a tad more smoothly.
As a family member or professional caregiver for a person with a traumatic brain injury – you are forced to understand three incontrovertible facts:
Regardless of how much you love and care for your charge, the physical and emotional demands of the job quickly become overwhelming.
Your time is no longer your own.
Traumatic brain injuries can span a lifetime.
With more than 50 million Americans caring for an aging or disabled loved one every year, the need for support and technological solutions has never been higher. Fortunately, we live in the age of the app. For TBI caregivers, as they say, “There’s an app for that.” Quite a few more than one, in fact.
CueYou $29.99 iPad, IPod, iTouch and iPhone 5 The most expensive app on this list also happens to be the most comprehensive. The caregiver can set up to 64 advance notices to be delivered to the client’s iPhone. Reminder options include text, audio files, photos and even a “joke of the day.” The app’s maker ensures delivery to the client’s iPhone without interruption – even if there is a power outage or lost internet connection. CueYou also automatically offers the option of contacting the caregiver after 30 minutes of “nagging” by the app. In the frenetic day of the average caregiver, this safety feature cannot be discounted.
Each message is accompanied by a chirp or vibration. The client receives the entire message and must swipe the face of the device for it to end. This action triggers a signal to the app website as well as the caregiver’s iPhone. To add extra function in a clutch, CueYou comes with a single-touch “Emergency Button” for the client to contact the caregiver or an emergency medical facility instantaneously.
Properly monitored, CueYou offers caregivers a significant amount of freedom by backing up the scheduled events of their lives. Peace of mind is part of the package.
CareConnector Free iPhone or IPod Touch CareConnector was created by the Johnson & Johnson Caregiver Initiative to ensure accurate and credible medical information is available to caregivers whenever and wherever they need it.
The app includes:
A “care planner” to store health insurance and care provider information as well as emergency contacts
A platform for tracking prescriptions and prescription history
A caregiver message board for commiserating with other caregivers
A journal for caregivers to take notes during doctors’ appointments and track their questions as well as physicians’ answers.
Caregiver’s Touch Prices Vary: iPhone and iPod: $4.99; iPad and web app: $19.95 per month or $199.95 per year A free trial is available Essential features include storing critical information including birthdate, social security number, blood type, military history and other medically or psychologically relevant information. CareGiver’s Touch also includes a calendar for events that can accommodate multiple patients. Other comprehensive features include:
Storage space for insurance information
Caregiving contact list
Medical history log
Information sharing function to keep family members in the loop
All private information kept secure
Medicine Cabinet $.99 Optimized for iPhone 5 and functions on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Medicine Cabinet gives caregivers the ability to easily store and retrieve all of their prescription-related information including: drug and physician data, pills, dosage and duration of treatment/medication schedule. Medicine Cabinet is ideal for those caregivers who are managing prescriptions for multiple clients. The one downside to Medicine Cabinet is its lack of other functions.
CareZone Free Compatible with iPhone, iPad and Andriod. There is no web version available. Features:
A care profile to securely store all pertinent medical information
An invitation feature allows friends and family members to join you and become “helpers.” This comes in handy especially when using the shareable task-list – stay on track with the help of other caregivers without over exerting yourself.
A shareable journal allows users to log observations and upload photos to keep other caregivers up-to-date about their charges well-being.
Medication tracking to keep a list all meds, dosages, purpose, prescribing physician, pharmacy, RX number and more.
A feature called “CareZone broadcast” allows you to “send a recorded voice message to up to 100 recipients” to keep family, friends and physicians informed of any immediate or emergency care developments.
Caring Ties Free App made recently available via smart phone, tablet or PC Caring Ties offers many of the features you would expect in an application for caregivers, but it is strictly a web-based application rather than one designed to run specifically on your phone, pad or other device. This app might be best for someone who does not have a smart phone or tablet, but can access the internet on a PC or laptop. Features include:
Schedule/reminders to take medications and perform other tasks
Reminders sent via email
Track completion of activities, record and report results
Store notes on medications, medical history and professional contacts
Log medical information such as blood pressure
Share information with loved ones, and including setting different levels of access for different loved ones
Journal to record experiences and save status updates
Free demo available at www.caringTies.com/Demo
Rx Personal Caregiver Offered in Personal (free), premium ($9.99) and Professional ($3.99/profile/year) versions. Currently, this app is only available for iPhone: $9.99, free trial version available. RX Personal Caregiver is all about medications and preventing the simple communication problems that can mean the difference between life and death. While RX Personal Caregiver may be the most comprehensive of the medication-based apps for caregivers, it cannot function as a stand-alone app for caregivers since medication management its only function.
Detailed medication management support, including tracking doses, dosage, refills, etc.
Missed dose cue instructions
Guide to more than 15,000 drugs
FDA alerts for recalled medication
Unfrazzle Free iPhone, iPad and Android Unfrazzle is a highly customizable app that, properly managed, can be extremely helpful for caregivers. This app requires the user to invest a significant amount of time to set up and customize all of the features. In general, this is time well spent as customizable features include:
Tracks the full range of caregiver tasks and stays synced with other caregivers
Other caregivers can be assigned individualized tasks so responsibilities can be shared.
Track medications, exercises, chores, observations, appointments and more
Through its website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, YouTube channel, Pinterest board and participation in live and online events, Unfrazzle seeks to educate and connect caregivers, to let them know they are never alone and that counseling and help is always available.
CaringBridge Free iPhone, iPad and Android CaringBridge helps manage day-to-day activities for caregivers including tracking medications, illnesses, appointments and even obtaining expert health advice. CaringBridge removes the need to be at home on your computer doing health-related research.
This app provides a forum for peer-recommended reviews for those who may want to post comments about their experience with any particular caregiver app. This community resource helps everyone learn how to utilize apps in their own unique caregiver situations.
CaringBridge also offers recommendations for other, alternative health-related apps. If you want to search other health-related categories, be sure to download Healthful Apps from Apps for All, which includes the following additional categories:
Lotsa Helping Hands Free iPhone, iPod and iTouch This caregiving app helps you create a community of care around your loved one or client. Invite family, friends, volunteers and care aides to join and then manage everything from sitters, errands, appointments and even family gatherings on an interactive calendar. There's also a section called "Helping Hands," which serves as a message board and a “wall” for well-wishers to leave messages of encouragement for the person receiving care. This app allows the primary user to select a coordinator and a community member page where you can update contact information, birthdates and list the best times to make contact.
Lotsa Helping Hands has much to offer caregivers and their loved ones. The webpage offers real support, stories by other caregivers, a newsletter and other features that complement the app.
Pocket First Aid and CPR from the American Heart Association $1.99 iPhone, iPad and iTouch
Content easy to locate in the event of an emergency
Advanced search functionality
Video and illustrated demonstrations:
Adult, child and infant CPR
Adult, child and infant choking solutions
Medical profile section to store and access all relevant emergency medical information
Life Coach + 99 Tips to Increasing Quality of Life  $.99 iPhone, iPod and iTouch Life Coach + is an app designed for anyone interested in increasing their perceived quality of life. Focusing on 99 topics in a wide variety of categories, this app can help caregivers become the caregivers they want to be – by focusing on their own needs too. After all, the best caregivers have the most to offer their charges.
99 profound and practical tips to increase quality of life
12 relevant topics that cover various aspects of living a modern day-to-day life
In-depth information on specific topics such as lowering stress levels, increasing your serenity, sources of inner strength, retaining health and vitality as well as numerous others.
Breathe2Relax  Free iPhone, iPod and Android For anyone who could use a “time out” to relax, Breath2Relax has been proven to help mood stabilization, anger control and anxiety. Simply indicate your level of stress and follow the audio instructions to breathe your way back to serenity. Essentially, this app provides on-site audio diaphragmatic breathing exercises.
Answers: YesNo $1.99 iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android We have purposefully included this app in the blog for both people with traumatic brain injuries and their caregivers. Specifically designed to aid in the communication process for those unable to communicate verbally. YesNo provides a vital function for caregivers and people with traumatic brain injuries alike. After all, communication is a two way street.
For non-verbal clients, this app utilizes two large, color-coded buttons. A recognizable green for “Yes” and red for “No.” When either button is pressed, the app vocalizes the user’s decision. This is a wonderful tool to help those with a brain injury or speech problem communicate without a struggle.
While we may have only covered a handful of apps here, there are certainly dozens being developed everyday and the care possibilities will only improve. If you are aware of any new apps, we welcome suggestions – simply comment on this post or add a link on our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn pages.
1 According to a study by National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare 2 https://caregiver.org/traumatic-brain-injury  https://www.cueyoultd.com/  http://www.macoscoders.com/2009/01/20/careconnectoriPhone-app-for-caregivers/  http://caregiverstouch.com/caregivers-application www.limbua.com/limbua/MedicineCabinet/  http://app.carezone.com/landing/  http://caringties.com/caringties/  http://personalcaregiver.com/  http://unfrazzledcare.com/unfrazzle-app/  http://www.caringbridge.org/  https://accan.org.au/our-work/app  http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/CommunityTraining/CommunityProducts/Apps---Pocket-First-Aid-CPR_UCM_308819_Article.jsp  Available at the Apple App Store  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/breathe2relax/id425720246?mt=8  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/answers-yesno/id337470555