Rest Assured®: Elderly Remain at Home with Tele-Caregiver Support

Sep 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Dad is 95, his wife is 82, and their daughters are unable to be present on a daily basis to check on them.  The parents tried a retirement center last year, and lasted two months before they insisted on moving back home.  One of their daughters, or sons-in-law, tries to check on them every morning, but their own schedules sometimes get in the way.  It feels like the doors keep shutting, when all they are trying to do is keep their parents safe.

Rest Assured® may have solutions for these daughters, and thousands of others like them throughout the country.  This web-based “Telecare” system is “… a ground breaking service designed to help seniors remain in their homes and individuals with disabilities gain more independence while staying safe.” 

Originally designed for persons with disabilities, services for the elderly soon were added.  The system connects the senior with a caregiver using the latest wireless technology over the Internet. 

Providing both security and freedom, Rest Assured® permits seniors to stay in their own home much longer than would otherwise be possible.

History of Rest Assured ®LLC

SCJ recently had opportunity to chat with Rest Assured® General Manager, Dustin Wright.  He told us the concept originated with the President of Wabash Center in Indiana, an agency providing in-home support services to adults with developmental disabilities.  With cuts in federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid services, the agency began experiencing problems in providing services.  In addition, they had difficulty with staff retention; there is a 70% turnover rate nationally for caregivers in these programs.  It was difficult to find good qualified staff, and once they were hired and trained, they would leave for a higher paying job.  He had the notion that providing the services through a remote caregiver who would not be physically present might work; the caregiver would be able to do everything an onsite caregiver could do with the exception of hands-on care. 

Partnering with Purdue University, between 2001 and 2003, they moved from the original concept to building the system with assistance from the state of Indiana to actually test whether it worked or not.  “The results were better than we anticipated, “ said Wright.  People were engaged and support was provided.  As a result, in 2004, the state of Indiana began funding services provided by Rest Assured®.  Not only is it a less expensive care model for Medicare and Medicaid clients, private pay clients find it 40-60% less expensive than traditional home care models.  The partnership that formed Rest Assured LLC was created in 2006, and they began selling services nationwide through ResCare Home Care.

Four Service Packages

Wright described four service packages offered by Rest Assured®.  The client(s) determine what services they need through an assessment process guided by a caregiver.  Packages can be combined, and many clients make that choice when contracting for services.

                Family Support:  In this package, caregivers are not involved.  The technological system is installed in the home of the elderly parent and the home(s) of loved ones who want to be in live real-time contact with their parent(s) any time they choose.   

Wright told us Rest Assured ® is in the process of moving from a web-based portal for communication between elderly parent(s) and sons and daughters, to a user-signon/password software system that can be downloaded and installed on the computer; this permits the sons/daughters to sign on to the Internet site, enter the user name and password, and be taken immediately to their parents’ home.

The package also includes a text messaging system for alerts, based on intelligent sensors placed in strategic places in the senior’s home.  For example, if the front door has a sensor and it opens at 11pm, and that’s not a normal or usual occurrence, a text message is sent to the identified cell number that alerts the son/daughter that the front door opened.  They can then respond to the alert.

                Drop-In Package:  Caregivers drop-in on a pre-set schedule of daily times to make sure everything is okay in the senior’s home.  Dropping-in means they turn on the system and are able to use the video camera to see what is going on in the house.  Typical times scheduled are around meal and medication times.   They are able to interact with the elderly person/couple through the two-way video screen installed in the home; caregivers can see the clients, and the clients can see their caregiver.  The relationship developed between them is reinforced every time the caregiver drops in. 

                Emergency Watch: This is a 24/7 system of sensors such as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, that look for emergencies.  A personal response button is also included.  If a caregiver gets an alert, she turns on the system to determine the nature of the emergency, and responds based on the protocol identified in the service plan.  All clients in Rest Assured ® get this service.

                 Active Support: This is the most intense service package.  The caregiver is watching, interacting, observing, documenting what is happening in the client’s home in four–hour blocks of time.   Focus in this service package is on interaction with the elderly in their home.  This package includes family support and emergency watch.

If, during the course of interaction with a client, a caregiver determines hands-on service is required, a call is made to a designated person to respond to whatever the need that has been identified.  Wright said the on-call person is sent out on average once every three months per home.

How It Actually Works

So if you decide you or a loved one need services from Rest Assured®, this is how it goes.  Representatives are available to talk with you and/or your loved one about the program, describing the four packages and walking you through how the technology works.  Then,   

  • You and your parent(s) complete the assessment with a caregiver to determine what package(s) you want to buy;
  • An Internet connection may need to be installed in each home if not already there. 
  • Video camera and other devices are installed in the elderly parent’s home, depending upon which packages you contract for;
  • During installation, you and your loved one are trained in how the system works; the camera is on the ceiling, and everyone is informed what areas in the home can be seen on the camera (bedrooms and bathrooms are not viewable by the camera); you find that all your parent has to do is push a button to get your attention, or that of the caregiver; 2-way audio is instant communication; the computer screen is where your parent can see the caregiver during a conversation.

Elderly parents quickly realize they can get support they need to remain in their homes as long as possible.  Wright said this is one of the strong selling points with the service.

Rest Assured, Today and Tomorrow

 There are over 300 Rest Assured® clients now.  The company is currently serving clients in 27 states, and prepared to offer services to people in the remaining 23. 

They find the primary concerns of sons and daughters is (1) safety, and(2) something has changed in the life of the parent.  Their needs have increased and a response is required.  The company is finding that family members want to be more involved with their aging parents; they want more interaction with them, and because of both distance and the demands of busy lives, face-to-face frequent contact is impossible.   

Wright concluded our conversation with this: “Our technology is pretty cool.  But the core of this model is the Rest Assured® tele-caregivers.  They have already had hands-on experience.  We’re hiring the best of the best caregivers and training them on the needs of each client they are supporting.  They form a relationship with the client.  It’s a human providing a service to another human, with the assistance of technology.” 

This is a program of services poised to replace more costly and less effective programs for the elderly throughout the country. Rest Assured® keeps seniors in their own homes longer and with support that assures their safety, immediate support with the touch of a button.   

Pretty cool technology.  Services packages that make sense and meet needs.  A caregiver available with the touch of a button.   As our grandchildren would say, “That Rocks!”

For more information, call Rest Assured® at 877-338-9193, or check out the website.

Tags: , ,

Leave a comment »

  1. […] General Manager of Rest Assured®; the full report of their conversation can be found on the SCJ Health Page.  Rest Assured® is a ground breaking service designed to help seniors remain in their homes and […]

  2. […] Elderly Remain during Home With Tele-CareGiver Support | Senior … […]

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.