Century Tree’s TheCareGivingLife.com is a website to help family caregivers, home health workers and patients contend with advanced chronic diseases. Our main focus is the 21 million Americans suffering from advanced congestive heart failure, type II diabetes, COPD and Alzheimer’s disease.
The United States is in the midst of a chronic disease crisis. 133 million Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease. Of greatest concern, however, are the 21 million Americans who are disabled, homebound and unable to contend with daily self-care tasks like bathing and dressing.
Thankfully, we have a veritable army of 1,000,000 home health workers and 52,000,000 family caregivers who are highly motivated to care for and nurture patients, and ease their suffering.
These family members and non-professional healthcare personnel are, however, often inadequately trained to address complex treatment problems.
Compounding their limited skills, as a rule, they work in isolation without supervision, adequate training programs, or support.
Century Tree Health Education helps family members and home health workers to manage chronic diseases. We offer:
- The Caregiver’s Encyclopedia—An alternative medical reference for family caregivers, home health workers and patients. Our priority is making disease management easy-to-understand, easy-to-remember, and even inspiring. Visitors can learn about disease process, treatments and warning signs with animated videos that are as entertaining as they are informative.
- Tools for Treatment—A set of interactive tools to help caregivers organize their caregiving tasks and, just as importantly, communicate effectively with doctors. Tools for Treatment include, Letting Your Doc Know What’s Up (summarizes key patient symptoms, from home, before doctor’s appointments); MedCheck (helps patients and doctors check for duplicate medications, contraindications, and errors in daily dosing); The Assessment Calendar (offers caregivers a day-by-day calendar for detecting problems early), and; Know for Sure (helps caregivers and patients keep up with routine diagnostic screenings).
- Quizzarama—An everyday quiz show where caregivers and patients can win prizes by answering disease management and fun trivia questions on our website. The goal is to keep caregivers thinking, researching and problem-solving about disease management every single day.
- A Community for Caregivers—If you’re a family caregiver or a home health worker, TheCareGivingLife.org is a great place to hang out. We have daily entertainment, like Quizzarama, Acts of Grace (a soap opera), Bahala Na (an animated soap opera), Edge of Heart (another soap opera), and The V-Team (an animated show about caregiver superheros). We have real-time real-person meet-ups where caregivers can share TV shows, and even meals, over chat or Skype. And, perhaps most importantly, we recognize that caregiving is a deeply personal experience, so we try to create content with real touchstones for members of different cultural communities.
Goals and Objectives
All Century Tree programs target one goal:
Century Tree’s products for caregivers are unique in two ways:
- Everything Century Tree offers is targeted at one goal: Reducing avoidable hospitalizations, and all the suffering that happens to people in the hospital.
- Patients with advanced chronic diseases account for 49% of US medical spending, or more than $437,000,000,000 annually. A full 76%, or $328 billion of that spending goes to pay for hospitalizations.
There is a silver lining though: Half of those hospitalizations are potentially avoidable through better medication adherence and warning sign recognition.
Two objectives pave the path to our goal of reducing avoidable hospitalizations :
- Improving medication adherence
- Prompt recognition of warning signs, along with immediate notification of doctors.
These are clinical issues that can be addressed only through consistent daily interventions and observation. The only people positioned to address these two clinical issues are the home health workers and family caregivers who are, in the home, with patients every day.
- Century Tree content is specifically created for our audience of home health aides and family members: It’s not cold, confusing or scary. We don’t offer general reference material that is overloaded with data and extraneous information.
- Instead, we assume that our audience of family caregivers and home health workers is stressed by disease and long working hours, may not have previous scientific knowledge, and English might not even be their first language.
- So we teach with “America’s first language”: The language of television. We teach about disease management with TV-style dramas, fun comedies and animated stories.
While the content is surprisingly sophisticated, it’s also something else:
- Actionable, and