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Consumer health it project proposal


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Consumer health it project proposal

  1. 1. David BattleConsumer Health ITIT Project Proposal: Final PaperApril 21, 2013
  2. 2. IntroductionThe Alzheimer Disease has been distorting human minds for centuries deteriorating thebrain until nothing was left. Since discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, studies have beenconducted trying to eradicate the brain engrossing disease but headway has not been madequite yet. As neuroscientist work vigorously to find a cure for the disease, science has turned totechnology hoping to ease the effects it has on the human lifestyle. Dementia hasbeenconsuming the minds of our human race at an alarming rateand has recently led to newinitiatives with the goal of discovering the cause of these diseases. Obama unveiled a $100million BRAIN Initiative on April 2 hoping to unlock the mysteries of the brain freeing thehuman mind from dementia and other brain complications (Healthcare IT News, 2013).Suchcomplications have led to different technology based health interventions providing doctorswith a modernistic approach to increasing the quality of life for patients with this ailment.When patients are diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s Disease it not only effects the patientbut it also effects the person who will have to help them cope with the disease, the caregiver.Being a caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s is a challenging task with the patients sometimesrequiring 24 hour monitoring. An Alzheimer patient has a mind that comes and goes frequentlyoften making it hard for them to perform daily tasks without assistance. This incites patientdependency requiring caregivers to be there all the time adding stress to their lives as well asthe patient. After extended period of dependency it’s been observed that the caregiver’squality of life starts to decline resulting in them resigning from the position.A caregiver’s endurance throughout the patient’s mental decline has to be nurtured inorder for them to be able to nurture the patient. As a young adolescent, I witnessed a caregiverand a patient’s whole being deteriorate simultaneously as the caregiver dedicated their life tohelp the patient. The caregiver and patient happened to be my grandmother and greatgrandmother. When my great grandmother was diagnosed she moved in with my grandmotherand I, but after a while it became too overwhelming. The amount of sleep and personal timethat we obtained decreased drastically almost to a point of nonexistence resulting to mygrandmother being relocated to another caregiver. The most important thing that was neededin that situation was time away from it all.This recognition was the motivation needed to design an intervention that wouldenhance the caregiver’s quality of life allowing them to sustain throughout process. Theprimary objective of the intervention was to assist in relieving the caregiver’s stress, providethem with a coping strategy, social support, and increase their overall wellbeing. Theintervention would also accommodate the patient in providing a management system tomonitor their progress.This would be done by providing a discussion board component forsocial support, a health and nutrition component for the caregiver, a tracking system for thepatient’s physical location, and management system for the patient including mental exercises,health information, etcetera. The success of this intervention would present a refreshing newoutlook to revitalize the caregiver’s soul ultimately extending their lives. Potentially it
  3. 3. wouldalso provide doctors and technologists with a new method to combat the Alzheimer’sdiseasetogether.LiteratureThere have been a similar studies conducted in the past focusing on the differentchallenges the caregiver’s face while caring for patient’s and ways to decrease the effects. Theinformation discovered in each study was considered when developing out Alzheimerintervention. I have not found a study that relates to our intervention in every aspect but therehave been some that contained specific components that we included in our study. In an articlepublished by the Canadian Journal on Aging in 2009, was a study done to analyze the effects aweb-based intervention had on Chinese Canadians. The study used the internet and emailsystems to help increase the level of communication between the patient, caregiver, andmedical provider. They hoped the intervention would help keep them a little more organized.Our intervention goes a step further to help keep the everything organized by providingcalendars with alert systems, places to store patient information, and many other components.Another study designed by A. M. Owen and colleagues focused on increasing thecognitive functions of patients using a computerized gaming system. The patient playeddifferent memory, reasoning, and speed tests while scientists measured the results each week.The study was closely related to the gaming system developed for our intervention whichhoped to increase brain functions after extended use. The results of the study showed thatafter weeks of practice the patient’s skills increased in each area meaning that the gamecomponent included in our intervention could prove useful in helping the patient.I received an article from Jenny Ma, a grad student studying Alzheimer’s disease, whichdiscussed different ways to assist caregivers from monitoring their mood changes to ways toreach a state of peace and tranquility. In that article was a section which focused on increasingthe overall health of the caregiver by completing different breathing exercises to relieve stress.Realizing the importance of helping the caregiver live the most stress-free life as possible it wasalso included in our intervention. In the intervention provided by Jenny it mentioned twobreathing exercises but in my component there would be an abundance of physical and mentalexercises offered for the user.Technology ComponentsProper health and nutrition is important for any human with the goal of living a long andprosperous life. Though this knowledge is such a common fact people often neglect to use theknowledge to sustain a healthy life. Observations have shown that most people tend to be tooengaged in other tasks such as studying, working, and in the instance of a caregiver caring forpatients. This leads to them forgetting about the most important thing they need which is foodand exercise. The Health and Nutrition component of the intervention was tailored around thecaregiver to ensure that they eat properly and exercise daily. This section of the application
  4. 4. contains two components with one focusing on the diet of the caregiver and the other on themental and physical fitness of the caregiver.The nutritional component of this application has a few features that would be verybeneficial for the caregiver and could also prove useful to any other person with a busyschedule. When the component would first be accessed it would display the recipe of the dayselected from a database of healthy meals with short preparation and cook times. Being thatnot all people eat the same food it would provide several choices for the caregiver to choosefrom for that day. All the meals would take less than 30 minutes total to prep and cook. Thiswould be perfect for them if they had a limited amount of time to eat. The component wouldalso save the recipes that the caregivers found favorable allowing them to access the recipes attheir convenience. If the caregiver had more time on their hands they could search for otherrecipes that interested them instead of settling for the pick of the day. It would also have aplace where they could choose healthy snacks when they were on the go. As noted before theirfavorite choices would be saved for future access.The nutritional component of this application would be primarily for the caregiver eventhough the patient could also benefit from it. Often the caregiver is responsible for preparingmeals for the patient so with this in mind they could make a meal for both of them. Whethertheir meal preferences were the same that day or they had something different in mind thepreparation times for the meals would be short enough for any circumstance. For example, ifthe caregiver had an hour before they had to takethe patient to a doctor appointment but had noteaten yet they could use the app to find a meal. Theywould open up the app and displayed would be apicture of a meal with a link for them to click on forthe recipe as shown in Figure 1. So if they wantedseafood they could choose the picture of shrimpscampi and the ingredients with directions would beshown.Figure 1
  5. 5. The exercise part of the component would display an exercise that caregivers could dorequiring 30 minutes of their time or less. There would be an option to choose between eitherbreathing or physical exercises both helping to relieve stress in their own way. The breathingexercise part would provide the breathing exercise of the day usually being some type of poseas shown in Figure 2. It would suggest that the caregiver find a quiet place before attemptingthe pose. It would also allow them to search for different types of exercises if they had a littletime and wanted to try something else for example, yoga. The physical exercise portion wouldprovide the same information except there would be exercises that would assist with increasingyour heart rate for example a weight lifting regiment or running exercises.This component focuses on increasing the physical and mental health of the caregiverbut could also be used to help the patient. The caregivercould allow the patient to perform the exercises withthem allowing the caregiver to monitor the patient whileworking out. A recent study shows that most of theproblems that caregivers experience tend to bepsychological (Marco M Blom, Judith E Bosmans,PimCuijpers, Steve H Zarit and Anne Margriet Pot, 2013).Proper exercise would prove the most beneficial to helpthe caregiver to relieve stress. An example of when thiswould help them would be if the caregiver experienced astressful day with the patient but still had to go homewith their kids. Before they walked into their home theycould sit in their car and perform one of the breathingexercises. Being that not all of them require differentposes but simply a few minutes and the caregiversundivided attention.Getting caregivers to adopt this interventionwouldn’t be a problem given that they are alwayssearching for help and new methods to make their lifeeasier. When my grandmother and I were dealing withthis problem there wasn’t an app or person offering ideasto help increase the quality of our lives. There were onlyfamily members and other outsiders offering pointlessopinions which eventually led to my great grandmother being relocated. My grandmotherwould often use walking as a way to relieve stress not knowing there were other options shecould’ve used some not even requiring her to leave her home. With this component users willbe able to access quick solutions to healthier living. At one point in time we started eating fastfood a lot because there wasn’t much time for my grandmother to maintain her life, my greatgrandmothers, and mine simultaneously. As we know fast food is the leading cause of mosthealth problems today.Figure 2
  6. 6. In life a significant amount of time is wasted not from doing unimportant things but bysimply being indecisive; not knowing what they want when they want something. It was thereason these components were designed in this manner a way in which we show the userswhat tasks we think they should perform at that given time. If they have time to disagree withour choices they can search for other options within the app which will have the sameresolution.There have been other apps that resemble components from our health interventionproving that our chosen method of approach would prove successful it used properly. Forexample Balance, which is an app created by the National Alzheimer Center that allowscaregivers to communicate with other caregivers, track info about the patient, and alsoprovides a few other components to help the caregiver manage patients(The NationalAlzheimer Center, 2013). Another app related to our intervention was one called DinnerSpinner which helped people manage their diets by providing healthy recipes for themwhenever needed (Recipes, A., 2013). In the article received from Jenny it was mentioned thatthe ability to care for someone when stressed becomes harder and only results in more stress(Caregivers Guide Revised). These articles provide the factual support showing that our chosenapproach will prove more beneficial to the caregiver if used.SourcesChiu, T., Marziali, E., Colantonio, A., Carswell, A., Gruneir, M., Tang, M., &Eysenbach, G. (2009).Internet-based caregiver support for chinesecanadians taking care of a family member withalzheimer disease and related dementia. Canadian Journal on Aging, 28(4), 323-36.doi: M Blom, J. E. (2013). Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an internet intervention for familycaregivers of people with dementia: design of a randomized controlled trial.Owen, A. M., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J. A., Stenton, R., Dajani, S., Burns, A. S., . . . Ballard, C. G.(2010). Putting brain training to the test. Nature, 465(7299), 775-778.doi:10.1038/nature09042; 10.1038/nature09042Botek, A.-M.(2013). Retrieved from 12 Handy Apps for, A. (2013).All Recipes. Retrieved from Dinner, W. (2013, March 7). Balance. Retrieved from
  7. 7. Article from Jenny Ma: Caregivers guide revised fin to mimi recent v2 10 2 06.pdf