Family caregivers find support in new Web-based tool

May 27, 2013
Technology
Family caregivers can find support in a Web-based tool that aids coordination
CareSolver, free at caresolver.com

Caring for a sick, aging or dying loved one is not easy, yet millions of Americans do it. CareSolver, a Web-based tool developed by the Harvard Innovation Lab, is attempting to relieve some of the stress and burnout experienced by caregivers by organizing, coordinating and managing care plans.

Caregivers fill out an online questionnaire about their loved one’s condition and needs. The Web tool then produces a care plan with recommendations from a team of clinical professionals.

Many of the recommendations are nonclinical. For example, caregivers can minimize the risk of falls by removing throw rugs from the house and installing wall-to-wall carpeting, says Shana Hoffman, one of CareSolver’s creators and an MBA student at Harvard Business School. Each recommendation comes with instructions and how-to videos.

The tool also can help locate service providers and keep tabs on appointments with a shareable calendar. Caregivers can remotely view readings from medical devices, such as blood sugar and blood pressure monitors; CareSolver will send caregivers an alert if it notes a problem. Multiple caregivers can access the tool to share information, create to-do lists and assign tasks.

While CareSolver is currently available only through a Web interface, its creators say a mobile/smartphone/tablet application is under development.

FITNESS
DVDs let you train like a UFC fighter without leaving home
UFC Fit, $120 for 12-DVD package

High-intensity exercise plans such P90X and Insanity continue to be all the rage for people looking to get in shape without leaving their home gym. The latest incarnation of this trend is UFC Fit, which creators say mimics the hard-hitting pace of an Ultimate Fighting Championship competition.

So what does it take to train like a UFC fighter? A combination of strength and conditioning, say the plan’s creators. In the ring (or the Octagon, in UFC parlance), this translates to ducking knockout hits and tossing opponents around. For the at-home participant, there’s no danger, just a lot of sweat. UFC Fit’s full-body workouts are divided into four three-week segments designed to develop strength, flexibility and endurance while burning fat.

The mixed-martial-arts-inspired workouts combine body-weight exercises such as punching, kicking, jumping and squatting, as well as movements using light dumbbells. Creators say each segment of the program builds upon the previous one to keep the workouts fresh and challenging.

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