“It was not a part of our thought process for 37 years that my husband and I could both be gone from home at the same time,” says Stephanie, mom to Justin, who now utilizes the GMA system provided through Gray Matters Alliances to support her son in the family’s home. The family is using the system for daily schedule reminders such as turning and positioning, tracking blood pressure, and creating demo videos for caregivers on how to best communicate with and support Justin. The system also controls a fan which Justin uses for sensory experience.
Utilizing this remote support system is giving the family a new -found peace of mind, and a more typical family life. Stephanie says, “We no longer have to be physically present at all times. Justin’s caregiver s can really get to know him through the information available in his system.” The family can check on Justin and communicate with caregivers through the monitor provided with the system. In the past, Justin had an experience where he needed to be hospitalized for wound care issues for a year after receiving care outside the family home for 30 days. The GMA system Justin has now is mobile and will go with him if he were to go into a respite situation, providing virtual contact between the family, Justin , and caregivers. For the first time, Stephanie and her husband can consider the possibility of taking a vacation, knowing that Justin will be well -supported in their absence. The system also can be accessed by Justin’s physician if needed, or his Support Coordinator.
Stephanie credits Justin’s Support Coordinator with introducing the family to the idea of remote supports. “I understand that families might be hesitant to use technology, ”Stephanie says. “At first, I failed to see how it was beneficial. It was a mind shift for me. But, once I saw the system, I realized there could be more independence. I was all in once I saw how it worked!”
Stephanie encourages any family thinking about technology not to give up if they aren’t sure at first. “Technology can enhance caregiving so much. Once you realize how different things can be, it opens up a whole new world.”