Caremap is a newly launched app for in-home care that, like Uber, connects users directly with service providers. And the lack of a middleman is one of the model’s most important distinctions, says founder and CEO Nectarios Charitakis.
“The whole time I was helping my parents, every time I told them, ‘Let’s get you care. It’s going to cost $30 or $35 an hour,’ they went ballistic. So I realized something had to be done. We had to bring a better price equilibrium. We had to help make it easier for families to find care,” says the enterprise IT veteran.
Unlike a traditional agency model, caregivers post their rate and users pay them directly via the app. Charitakis doesn’t take a cut. There is no administration fee. He’ll make money from users who choose to subscribe to the premium version of the app — the inspiration for its added features came from his own experience.
“So one of the problems I had was every time a caregiver took my mom or dad to an appointment, I never knew when the next follow-up was. So if your [Caremap] caregiver takes mom to a doctor’s appointment, they can’t close their shift until they go into the calendar to put in a follow-up.”
On both the free and premium versions, users can search a Market Place and connect with care providers — from non-accredited companion keepers to registered nurses — in their area. Appointments are scheduled via the app, and users can rate their caregiver(s). If you need care, you can also upload job postings with requirements – even language preference.
If the person in need of care isn’t tech-savvy, they can grant access to their profile and its administration.Charitakis believes being able to co-ordinate care remotely for a loved one can help ease the strain on family members.
Another pain point he decided to tackle was lack of information.
“My experience is that everything was a black hole. You had no idea if your caregiver was Mary Jane. You had no idea if she showed up, what time she showed up, what did she do and how is Mom. I found that very frustrating.”
Not only do caregivers have to “punch in” upon arriving and “out” at the end of his or her shift, the app uses geolocation to notify the user — and anyone to whom they’ve granted access — as to their impending arrival.
And if you want more details than a caregiver’s comings and goings, the premium version of the app includes a Wellness Meter for rating a client’s emotional condition, hydration, continence, mobility and hygiene at the end of every shift.
“The reality is we all love our parents, but we have our own kids, we have our professions — we’re not there 24-7. And a lot of kids don’t visit their parents for weeks at a time,”Charitakis says. “This way at least on a daily basis, you’ll get a note saying, ‘Mom’s good’ or ‘Mom’s not good’ or ‘Mom has a lot of pain today.’ So you can take some preventive action.”
Charitakis is focused on populating the caregiver base in Ontario first and then the rest of Canada, but the app is available in English for any client and caregiver who want to use it together. There is also a free online database and resources for families and caregivers at uCarenet.