Shara Cohen, CEO of Carallel, on VatorNews podcast

Steven Loeb · February 9, 2023 · Short URL:

Carallell is a provider of human-centered guidance and digital tools for family caregivers

Steven Loeb speaks with Shara Cohen, CEO of Carallel, a provider of human-centered guidance and digital tools for family caregivers

Our goal is to understand tech breakthroughs radically changing healthcare: the way we screen, diagnose and treat conditions and measure outcomes. And whether tech is helping or hurting our well-being physically and mentally.

Highlights from the interview:

  • Everybody is either a caregiver or will be a caregiver or will need a caregiver or has been a caregiver. Most people who are caregivers don't necessarily label themselves so, but it is universal and, while it can be incredibly rewarding and enriching, it can also be burdensome. It's emotional, it's expensive from a time and resource perspective, and it's complicated. We're asking people to navigate systems that are unfamiliar, even if you live and breathe this all day. 
  • For family caregivers there is a higher incidence of serious illness, a higher incidence of mental health implications, and a higher incidence of suicidal ideation, especially for sandwich generation caregivers, who are both raising children and caring for aging parents. There is also financial strain: people are spending up to 25% of their income on caregiving responsibilities. There are very tangible impacts to the caregiver that create unhealthy conditions and as their health deteriorates, so goes the health and wellness of their loved one. 
  • Caregivers often have to juggle their own professional lives with their responsibilities for their loved one, and what they don't need is more homework. Sometimes provider organizations and healthcare in general think about them in terms of making sure that they share discharge instructions or that they've reviewed medications and what to do when they get home instructions. The vast majority of healthcare is very happy to put responsibility on the family caregiver and not think too much about the impact that that those responsibilities have and oftentimes people feel really ill equipped. 
  • One of the things Carallel talks about is how to make access to help and support frictionless and so it offers access to Care Advocates, caregiving experts who are there to listen, provide a compassionate ear to a caregiver’s challenge, and help people problem solve and find assistance, programs, and benefits that can help them. The company also supplements that with digital resources and tools for a circle of care.
  • Carallel has databases that help a caregiver identify the right types of facilities or income care providers based on their criteria, and then it works with them through its Care Advocates to do that vetting process. Care Advocates will do a lot of the research, the phone calls, the vetting, and report back and say, “Here are two or three within your zip code that you want at your price point and your requirements that that are that that are good options.” 
  • Carallel doesn’t want this to be an additional burden for caregivers and that's why is it focused on providing this as a benefit, as either attached to their insurance coverage or an employee benefit. Employers have become aware of the impact of caregiving: they're concerned about the healthcare impacts of caregiving from an attendance and productivity perspective, so there's a huge interest in providing this benefit as a way of distinguishing an employer. Carallel has focused on making this a no additional cost option for health plan beneficiaries and employees of organizations who are innovative about their cultures.
  • A silver lining of the pandemic has been the heightened awareness of caregiving. The company has seen a real acknowledgement of the role and impact of family caregivers and it's incredibly exciting. It wasn't the best moment to be bringing a newer program to market, but it certainly has emerged as a more widely acceptable, or more wildly interesting solution, and so, as we're coming out of COVID, there is real momentum.

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