Blog

Pediatric resources for caregivers, patients and providers.

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On November 1, 2016, HHSC rolled out the new STAR Kids managed care program across Texas, which has brought significant changes and challenges to our provider partners and families. The CareStarter team has been very involved in the process of disseminating information to our network in the last year both before and during this rollout.

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Trenell Walker is a Ziglar Legacy certified trainer. At the tender age of 14, he experienced a tragic accident playing high school football that left him paralyzed from the neck down. In his eyes, temporary defeat does not mean permanent failure because nothing beats a failure but a try. This Caregiver Inspirational Series allowed CareStarter CEO Lamarque Polvado to talk with Trenell about his journey from desperation to inspiration.

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The CareStarter Farm Party and Bonfire was a big success! It was truly amazing for us to gather such a diverse and amazing group of people on my farm in String Prairie, TX. String Prairie has a population of 34 people, so with over 50 people at the party, we nearly tripled the population for a day! Some came early, most came later, but it was clear that fun was had by all.

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CareStarter is thrilled to be hosting a new series of webinars: the Caregiver Inspirational Series! This series is focused on sharing the stories of caregivers like you, with the goal of empowering you in your journey with the person you care for, as well as coming together as a community to turn that inspiration into action.

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In the latest chapter of expanding information and resources available to caregivers, we are proud to introduce CareStarter 3.0. With adjustments to the app interface and search mechanics, as well as the addition of the user-requested Event Module, we seek to continue improving your options to connect with others and find the best resources for the path you choose in caring for your loved ones.

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The CareStarter team is excited to announce the release of the 3.0 version of our app! This update includes an addition that is crucial to share with providers - the Event Module. The Event Module is an option for providers to share their events in the app to improve visibility and attendance. Caregivers can utilize the app to browse or search for the events that they are interested in, ensuring mutually beneficial use of the CareStarter app.

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If you have ever had the chance to rub shoulders with people who have true vision and passion you know that it is a special opportunity and experience. Last week I had the privilege of being in a room full of leaders who are focused on serving teens and young adults in the transition and independent living segment of the Pediatric Special Care industry. From the moment I walked into the first session I realized that I was participating in something incredibly special. There were leaders from 21 different states representing 47 different types of transition and independent living resources. It was not by chance that this meeting was taking place at Marbridge in south Austin, Texas. Marbridge has been a thought leader in this space for the last 50 years and is one of our newest featured partners on the CareStarter platform.

What is Marbridge?

It was clear to me that this group came together to network and share...

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This article was originally published on the People's RX Blog. Click here to view.

When my daughter, Ashlyn was five years old, she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It was after her diagnosis and experiencing the frustration, stress and overwhelming emotions that I made the decision to find a better way. The last ten years have led me on a path committing to building technology that can empower patients and help them access care and resources in their own unique way. The impersonal experiences that myself and family encountered fueled the creation of CareStarter and our commitment to resources for parents and caregivers at their fingertips.

It’s been 10 years since Ashlyn's autism diagnosis. For those parents and caregivers, I can tell you it gets easier. Me and my family still have many milestones and years to go but with more research and information available for parents and healthcare professionals than...

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It's been an exciting week at CareStarter. We've been featured by both the popular special needs and inspirational blog, The Mighty and ABC News. (Click here to see The Mighty's Coverage of CareStarter. Click here to see the CareStarter story on ABC News.)

Both news outlets featured CareStarter CEO, Lamarque Polvado and his family's story and his daughter's autism diagnosis that provided him the inspiration to create the pediatric and special needs resource and mobile app you see today.

The impersonal experiences Lamarque and his family encountered after his daughter's autism diagnosis gave him the inspiration to create a resource for parents and caregivers focused on providing resources for them at their fingertips.

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We've been working hard on building and establishing a group of tutorials for new app users. The team has worked closely with app users and has developed a series of app and tech tutorials to help you get the most out of the CareStarter app.

CareStarter and Connections Tutorial Library Resources

New app users receive a series of emails and tutorials delivered to their email inboxes over the course of the first few weeks after downing the app and creating a profile. Here is a list of our tutorials that you can easily access from our CareStarter blog that includes photos and screenshots at your fingertips.

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March 29, 2016 - Austin, Texas

Ability Pediatric Therapy & Nursing, a San Antonio, Texas, based pediatric therapy and nursing company, has selected Austin, Texas based CareStarter Technologies to improve the patient experience with their newly launched Referral Portal. CareStarter Technologies is a patient centered care technology providing pediatric patients and their caregivers access to information at the moment of diagnosis and beyond.

“We’re excited to enhance our already robust services and resources in the San Antonio community. We are focused on providing enhanced patient care and resources that include personalized patient referral lists that are easily accessible by your mobile device for our caregivers who are always on the go,” said Pam Goble, CEO of Ability Pediatric Therapy & Nursing.

As part of the Referral Portal, CareStarter Technologies will provide intelligent technology, including the ability to enhance current resource distribution using mobile technologies, organize as well as...

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Click here for part 1 of our series on defining what 360 degrees of pediatric care is.

CareStarter’s vision of 360 degrees of care challenges the notion that 360 degrees of care is not simply improving the flow and sharing of patient data from one healthcare technology or system to another. 360 degrees of care is focused not just on healthcare records but focuses on the patient experience, their specific needs and providing a diversification of resources in order to lower risk while also improving the patient and caregiver experience. By improving patient and caregiver resources, we provide a better path of care reducing stress and uncertainty for our patients and their families.

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Three-hundred sixty (360) degrees of care is founded on CareStarter’s belief that patients are people and that people are not acute. And by acute I mean that we believe that healthcare diagnosis, support and resources for pediatric patients are dynamic regardless of the diagnosis chronic or not. Patients are not always viewed as people who are complex and dynamic The patient as well as the caregiver or family are fluid. Most importantly a person or patient in this case should not be defined by their diagnosis. The support for the diagnosis of their child is ongoing and in many cases lasts a lifetime.

The health system in its current state was not designed for acute and dynamic care. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are often focused on chronic care where there is a specific beginning, middle and end to the type of care provided to their patients. If a patient, breaks an arm bone, there is a standard process with a beginning, middle and end - unlike long term treatment plans. This is very different from a pediatric diagnosis of autism,...

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This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Mobile is the single most important change in the world since the invention of the internet. Seventy-one percent of adults in the U.S. now own a web-enabled smartphone or other wireless device. Mobile allows for individuals to be connected in real time, on the fly and literally from the palm of their hand. They have the world and its resources at their fingers, making for some of the most empowered buyers and consumers we’ve experienced to date. Mobile users are empowered to learn, engage and research for themselves without having to wait.

The mobile healthcare space is a busy one, with revenue in 2016 expected to exceed $13.578 billion. Mobile healthcare apps are generally placed in...

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At CareStarter, we believe your mobile and smartphone device is your connecting point to the outside world and believe that all individuals should take advantage of their right and eligibility to have a mobile phone especially when it comes to access to family resources and patient focused technology like our Pediatric Resource App.

The Lifeline program started in 1985 and provides a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that a phone and smartphone device bring. We believe families and individuals should be able to connect to our CareStarter resources, their job, family, support and emergency services. In this article, we discuss the LifeLine low income phone program for the state of Texas only.

Individuals are eligible if they meet certain low-income, federal or state program requirements. Lifeline is provided in every state, territory,...

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Last week, we hosted a networking and kickoff luncheon for San Antonio, Texas, called Caring is Sharing. The Caring is Sharing luncheon allows for networking among our great community and also serves as an opportunity to touch base and share with our friends, partners and providers exciting announcements and updates for CareStarter and our technologies.

What is Caring is Sharing?

Caring is Sharing celebrates the ability to share resources and information with pediatrics and special needs providers in the one of five metro areas where our resources are currently available in. At present, CareStarter is currently available in the following Texas markets: the Waco area, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

The Caring is Sharing luncheon and networking signals the kick off of a four week campaign where we actively reach out to partners and providers in the caring is sharing city focused on promoting the sharing and availability of patient and provider resources, information and...

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Five Surprising Statistics When It Comes to Mobile

Education is the foundation of the adoption of any new change in management process and mobile healthcare is no different. It starts with first understanding what matters most to your target market, consumer and how they use and embrace a new business change, program or in this case, technology.

While I’ve worked in the mobile over the course of my career, working in the mobile space within healthcare is new for me. As I’ve been talking with patients, caregivers and the providers CareStarter works to support and engage, I have been more than a little surprised many provider’s opinion of mobile. And that's exactly why I've collected five important mobile statistics I hope dispel any mobile myths that might exist in the healthcare or patient focused care industry.

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Now that the holiday season has passed, where does all that excitement and energy go - especially for a child with autism? Here are some post-holiday suggestions to keep your child’s festive spirit going strong into the New Year!

Start by helping your child reminisce about all of the recent fun experiences and feelings she had. Then, have her communicate them in a thoughtful, organized way by writing and drawing.

How to Help Express Your Autistic Child's Holiday Gratitude

To express appreciation for loved ones, it’s best for your child to create homemade cards with drawings of special events he enjoyed or gifts he received along with the words “Thank You!” on the cover. Inside the card, help your child write these ‘Thank you’ cards using the steps below as a guideline to reinforce language and social skills:

EVENT TYPE:

-Did I visit...

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Pediatric special care is a healthcare plan, resources and support for patients who are between the ages 0-30. These resources are focused on children with special needs.

What is Pediatric Special Care?

Pediatric special care differs from traditional pediatric healthcare because there are children involved with very diverse, complex and specific needs that for many of them will follow them throughout the course of their life. The type of special care a child receives depends on the specific pediatric diagnosis. This diagnosis can range from childhood leukemia to autism to Down Syndrome and everything inbetween. Care for diagnosis ranges from meal plans to physical therapy to psychologist. It’s not uncommon for a special needs child to have 7 different doctors and medical professionals they are seeing. Juggling all these doctors and medical professionals as a parent and caregiver I can assure you is an overwhelming task.

A parent will need access to a provider(s) outside of his/her child’s...

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In 2008, I along with some friends started The Connections Book. The book served as a living resource for caregivers, providers, families and parents filled with resources, references and listings of providers who specialized in children with special needs.

The Connections Book has been an amazing resources but the truth is that over the years we have been limited by it. Most of you, like me, use at least one mobile app in your daily routine to access information. The app is the next generation and evolution of the book, which is why I thought it best to share three of the most compelling reasons that we built the CareStarter App. These patient focused technologies are founded on the principle of providing great resources for families of children with special needs. My goal has always been to elevate the level of care, better connecting families to providers helping to improve the level of care and information they receive.

Reason #1: We NEVER Run Out of It!

Due to the book’s popularity, we have referred...

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December 9, 2015 - Austin, Texas

Family to Family Network, a Houston, Texas-based nonprofit organization that provides parent support, education and training events on the special educational process and disabilities diagnosis information is partnering with Austin, Texas, based CareStarter Technologies. CareStarter Technologies is a patient centered care technology providing patients and their caregivers access to information at the moment of diagnosis and beyond.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 15% of children aged 3 through 17 years have one or more development disabilities. The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, defines a developmental disability as a severe chronic disability of an individual that is attributed to a mentor of physical impairment or combination, is manifested by the age 22, likely continues indefinitely, results in substantial functional limitations in three or more life care activities and reflects the individual’s need for a combination of services, support or...

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Read more about our tips for holiday hosts who are entertaining guests with sensory challenges by clicking here.

As you prepare for hosting and/or visiting loved ones this holiday season, model these key social skills and language to make gatherings more enjoyable for your child with autism – and for everyone he or she sees!

GIFT-GIVING AND GRATITUDE

For kids with limited language skills:

Some children with autism are confused about speaker/listener roles of “Thank you/You’re welcome.” For example, your child might incorrectly say “Thank you” or “You’re welcome” when handing something to someone rather than, “Here, this is for you.”

To help your child, take these different perspectives or points of view. Role play with your child to practice giving and receiving gifts. Without your child’s knowledge, purchase...

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*A version of this article was original published on the Huffington Post. Click here to access.

Holiday season is now upon us. Maybe this week you are packing your bags to hit the road to attend a family dinner or perfecting your shopping list as host of the perfect event.Maybe you’ve worked hard planning your holiday menu, taking into account guest food allergies and vegetarian preferences.

You think a lot about your guest’s experience, I challenge you to consider your guest’s surroundings, specifically of the sensory variety.

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition where sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. SPD affects the way a child processes messages sent to his or her brain from any of the five main senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. He or she often cannot...

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Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. For example, your body responds a certain way when you tell it to turn a doorknob or shake a hand.

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition where sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. SPD affects the way a child processes messages sent to his or her brain from any of the five main senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. He or she often cannot handle sensory stimulation and often fixates on a single event or activity as a coping mechanism for SPD.

Whether children or adults have been formerly diagnosed, sensory processing challenges are becoming more commonplace with several studies show at least 1 in 20 children’s daily life is affected by SPD (Ahn, Miller, Millberger, McInstosh 2004). A more recent study published in 2009 suggested that as...

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Your patient profile in the CareStarter app is the key to accessing great resources. We work hard to provide an easy-to-use caregiver experience that’s intuitive and fluid for you, your patient, and family.

A great feature that’s often not discussed is the patient profile sharing feature. Easily share a profile of your family member, like a child, with another parent, loved one, or spouse.

Update: You may notice that details about Connections are disappearing! That's because the Connections app will be going away as we focus more on bringing faster and better updates to the CareStarter app. Don't worry, your Connections login will work on CareStarter! Swap Over to CareStarter now!

Step 1: Select the Profile to Edit

From the home screen, select “Profiles” to view the profiles associated with your CareStarter account. Select or touch the...

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It is Mahatma Gandhi who said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” CareStarter provides the caregivers with access to information empowering them to make the best health and patient decisions nurturing our “real wealth” as Gandhi explained.

With information, there is real power. However, organizing that information is especially important when faced with a world wide web full of options. It can be overwhelming, if not paralyzing.

One of my favorite features in the CareStarter app is our provider feature. It allows you to organize your provider list by patient, connecting you to all the providers' important information including address, phone number, and websites.

Update: ...

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The success of Carestarter's technologies and resources is driven by communities of patients, caregivers, and providers. Our success continues only through partnership with those who are committed to working together to improve patient care resources through relationships, conversations, learning, and technology.

One of our most popular features is the quick share feature in the Carestarter app. In just a few seconds, you are able to quickly share our app with a friend using an email address or mobile phone number in less than 60 seconds.

Update: You may notice that details about Connections are disappearing! That's because the Connections app will be going away as we focus more on bringing faster and better updates to the CareStarter app. Don't worry, your Connections login will work on CareStarter! Swap Over to CareStarter now!

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In our everyday lives we engage and encounter so much information and resources, that we are often left feeling overwhelmed. Thinking about patient care resources is no different, which is why I’m particularly excited about the bookmark feature offered by the Carestarter platform.

Update: You may notice that details about Connections are disappearing! That's because the Connections app will be going away as we focus more on bringing faster and better updates to the CareStarter app. Don't worry, your Connections login will work on CareStarter! Swap Over to CareStarter now!

Step 1: Search and Locate a Resource.

You can read more about utilizing the search function within our platforms by clicking here. You can either search by keyword or specific...

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Once you have created a profile, or profiles, on the Carestarter platform, it is time to start taking advantage of the importance of search and tapping into the resources that Carestarter has to offer.

Update: You may notice that details about Connections are disappearing! That's because the Connections app will be going away as we focus more on bringing faster and better updates to the CareStarter app. Don't worry, your Connections login will work on CareStarter! Swap Over to CareStarter now!

Step 1 - Select Profile to do Search

Select the profile of the person or patients you wish to search for resources for. Make sure to include the correct zip code. Start the search the by selecting a category or search by keyword to start your search.

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Once you have created your patient profile, it is now time to take advantage of our list of resources for patients, providers and their caregivers. Before, you begin searching for resources, users need to complete a patient profile and that starts with adding patient diagnosis information.

Update: You may notice that details about Connections are disappearing! That's because the Connections app will be going away as we focus more on bringing faster and better updates to the CareStarter app. Don't worry, your Connections login will work on CareStarter! Swap Over to CareStarter now!

Step 1 - Add or Update Patient Profiles

From the home page, click on the “Profiles” button to be directed to your list of patient profiles associated with your...

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We've been busy the last 60 days in the Dallas market launching our Caring is Sharing campaign, encouraging providers and patients to share the CareStarter App with friends, family, peers and colleagues. Patients and providers simply share the app via email or text.

We're extremely happy with the campaign's success. So much so that we are launching #CaringisSharing in Austin, Houston and San Antonio in the coming months.

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I will never forget the boss I had at my first pediatric job. I had a lot of respect for her because she had such a unique perspective on therapy. Not only was she an OT, the owner of the clinic, but she was the parent of a child with special needs. I would watch the connection she was able to form with the parents, even if she had only known them for a few minutes.

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Karen Mayer Cunningham tells the story of how her son’s diagnosis and early school experience led her to become a special education advocate.

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If you’re a new parent of a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome, either pre- or postnatally, worrisome facts and statistics have a way of bouncing around in your head: mild to moderate cognitive delay, a fifty-fifty chance of a heart defect, a heightened risk of thyroid disorder, celiac disease, leukemia... And this one, a real doozy, regardless of where you stand on the issue of reproductive rights: Reportedly, nearly 90 percent of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Considering such dismaying and downright scary stats as these, it’s no wonder so many parents experience a grieving period following their child’s diagnosis. Facts like these can make it seem as if your precious child’s life and future are in danger, and so are your own.

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George, a special needs dad, shares his insights on why special needs planning today needs a paradigm shift in order to provide a more effective plan for parents.

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The Special Care Industry is a synergistic movement designed to provide a single entry system of access to the vast array of resources available to persons with disabilities, their families, and their caregivers. The Industry seeks to offer a lifetime of support for those in need of these services.

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