The year 2023 has been a landmark period for caregiver advocacy and innovation. Through this interview our CEO and Founder, Jonathan Davis, shares his valuable perspectives on the transformative journey of the past year, the groundbreaking initiatives that have reshaped caregiver support, and the significant role Trualta has played in these advancements. Join our conversation with Jonathan, exploring the triumphs, challenges, and future aspirations that define the caregiving landscape in 2023 and beyond. This post is more than just a reflection on the past; it’s a forward-looking discourse with one of the leading voices in healthcare innovation.
What did you anticipate at the beginning of 2023 and how did things end up at the end of the year?
Going into 2023 we anticipated positive momentum in caregiver support, but our expectations were exceeded! The focus from states and the federal government (i.e. The National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers and President Biden’s Executive Order) ended up being a very exciting catalyst for additional funding and support for families in challenging care situations.
The mindset around caregiver support has really shifted. Caregiving used to be viewed as “the right thing to do” for families and now it’s an important differentiator for innovative health plans and provider organizations. Supporting caregivers can drive real results while also being the right thing to do.
What are you most proud of from 2023?
I am most proud of our outcomes across the platform – we helped thousands and thousands of families this year and heard incredibly powerful stories from confident caregivers empowered by our education and community. I am also proud of us scaling to enterprise, and that we were able to help families when they couldn’t find home care aides due to staffing shortages and high costs.
Tell us about “Better Days” and how that theme has carried through 2023.
I am so excited about “Better Days.” I love that it’s simple, but also personal, as in, “What does a better day mean to you?” We’ve been deep in research around caregiver interventions for years, talking about caregiver confidence, burnout, and self-efficacy – many of the outcomes historically associated with caregiving interventions. But when our team really sat down and thought about what it meant to help our users, it was about helping them have better days while caring for a loved one.
Can you discuss community features?
Community is important to me, and important to our team, but it’s even more important to the families that we support, to our caregivers. And that’s why we’ve spent the past year building in-platform support groups where you can jump right in, wellness checks so we know how you’re feeling, live classes hosted by some incredible care educators, and coaches to make sure the community feels taken care of.
And it’s working: We’ve been live for just a few months, hundreds of caregivers have participated, and 94% of them indicated that they were less lonely after the event. Almost every single one felt just a little bit better after chatting with six other caregivers or participating in a live class and chat session. We are blown away by the results and continue to invest in all things community.
In one support group, two caregivers found out that they lived 10 miles apart. The next day our team received a photo of them together. They were so hungry for connection, they couldn’t wait more than one day to connect in person.
Can you discuss the Spanish language initiative?
In July we launched our entire platform in Spanish so that we could help more caregivers. It is part of our strategy to be inclusive and accessible. We developed our Spanish library in partnership with subject matter experts who not only translated existing content, but also updated content to ensure it was culturally relevant. We hope to release our content in other languages in the near future.
What did you/Trualta learn this year?
One of my biggest takeaways from the year is how many organizations across the healthcare landscape have indicated that caregivers are a strategic priority – but often these organizations don’t know where to start in terms of identifying and engaging caregivers of their members and patients, and tracking outcomes. Our team has really enjoyed thinking through this with partners across the payer and provider landscape to help them better articulate what success looks like for caregiver support programs. The momentum around approaching caregivers strategically has been really energizing for our team.
My second takeaway is how promising our Caregiver Activation model is. We’ve been innovating on our model for several years and have really seen how well it works to activate the caregiver – leading to compelling outcomes for both the caregiver and the member or patient that they are caring for.
How did the team grow and evolve?
One of the most exciting things about 2023 was that we welcomed some really experienced people to the team to help us scale across agency and enterprise clients. We’ve also deepened our expertise in health IT and the electronic health record world, so we can better integrate caregivers into our clients’ workflow.
How do you feel about what the government announced in 2023?
In 2023 we saw President Biden’s Executive Order to support caregivers, CMS’s Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience (GUIDE) Model, which will help individuals with dementia and their caregivers, and CMS’s Physician Fee Schedule Caregiver Training Codes, which were recently approved. This momentum really demonstrates the commitment from stakeholders to help support family caregivers, and caregivers are finally being recognized for their key roles in the healthcare system.
Who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank our caregivers – for trusting us, attending our support groups week after week, providing feedback, and chatting with our designers. I’d also like to thank our clients who are innovative, leading the pack, and who intuitively understand why caregiver support is not just the right thing to do, but a differentiator for their organization. And I’d finally like to thank our team members who innovate relentlessly and build relationships authentically with our clients and caregivers.
What are your goals for Trualta this year?
In 2023 we learned a lot about different caregiver needs, and in 2024 we want to be really thoughtful about directing caregivers to the right intervention for them. This is a critical goal for the year ahead, because we know caregivers have different needs. So meeting individual caregiver needs – at scale – will be key to our success this year.
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to helping thousands of caregivers to have Better Days! Our team is most inspired by the stories we hear from them about how we’ve helped them build skills and confidence when providing care, and feeling less alone in their caregiving role.
How will Trualta address more caregiving needs?
This year we will address more caregiving needs through content reach and expansion, with a focus on finding the right interventions for each caregiver. We’ve piloted some really exciting new formats, like anonymous support groups, and topics that have engaged caregivers that previously didn’t engage with our platform. It’s been energizing for us to creatively find ways to reach new caregivers who really need help avoiding burnout.
We are also working with our partners to help address the workforce challenge when possible. The impact on family caregivers during this home care workforce shortage is not discussed enough, but families need support more than ever before.
What would you say to potential partners?
There is a huge need for caregiver education and support and there is a business case to underwrite for supporting caregivers. But we know that caregiver support doesn’t always cleanly fit into the organization, and often clinical, population health, and quality leaders at health plans and providers are unsure of how to build a caregiver strategy. We want potential clients to know that they are not alone here and to reach out to us for thought partnership. Our team is always excited to help partners think through how to make caregiver support into a robust program with an ROI.
What would you like to tell caregivers?
I’d like caregivers to know that we are here for you whenever you need us. We offer wellness content targeted toward caregivers so that they can really understand how to better care for themselves – leading to Better Days for them and their loved ones.