CareSearch Blog: Palliative Perspectives
A new mobile app "AllowMe!" to assist people to create a community of care around a person at the end of life
A guest blog post from Liz Callaghan, CEO, Palliative Care Australia
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is proud to announce the release of a new mobile app, AllowMe!. The app assists people who are caring for someone with a life-limiting illness by mobilising their existing community to help with practical tasks. PCA developed AllowMe! in response to feedback from carers, people with a terminal illness and friends and family members telling us:
When we started this project, we set out to determine what functionality people would find useful in an app that connects and engages friends and family to support someone. To assist us in determining what would be most useful, we spoke with carers and people that work or volunteer in palliative care. This consultation helped us to determine the app’s key features, including how important it was to have easily accessible information, schedule appointments and view updates in one place to reduce communication duplication.
- How caring for someone with a life-limiting illness is rewarding but can also be emotionally and physically demanding without support from others.
- How difficult it is to ask for help from extended family and friends
- People not knowing how to help, not wanting to say the wrong thing or ‘get in the way’.
- How difficult it can be for the person with a life-limiting illness to stay connected with their extended network, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loss.
- People may experience anticipatory grief whilst caring for someone with a terminal illness.
We also engaged a number of people in our beta testing process, including people that have a life-limiting illness and their carers. These focus group discussions reminded us of the diversity of the people that care for someone. Carers can be any age, have different family structures, have different cultures and live in all different regions of Australia. This diversity presented its own challenges to ensure that the resulting app was intuitive to use for people with differing skills in using technology.
The app has a number of functions, with carers and care recipients having additional options that are not visible to the community members. The primary functions are:
The AllowMe! app launched on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, Saturday, 14 October, and is available for free to download from the Google Play store and the App Store, and is also available as a web based tool. This project was made possible with funding from nib foundation.
- The planner: this includes the ability to add events and tasks that the community can assist with, as well as appointments and medication reminders that are not visible to the community. People in the community can make suggestions, for example offering to walk the dog on a Thursday night, which the carer or care recipient can accept or decline. The carer and care recipient can also nominate who can volunteer for a task, for example giving the person a lift to a medical appointment.
- Newsfeed: this function is visible to everyone in the community and allows people to share updates and photographs.
- Resources: the resource list is based on some of the popular resources on the PCA website about caring for people at the end of life, the dying process and grief and bereavement.
- Journal: this function is only visible to carers and care recipients and can only be viewed by the individual user. It can help people identify how they are feeling and what they have been doing (e.g. someone may be feeling happy because they had visitors that day). The care recipient also has a pain scale built into the journal.
Liz Callaghan, CEO, Palliative Care Australia