Article written by Jo Muirhead, Sonia Judd, Ross Miller & Rebecca McMurray
Like many health professionals practising in 2018, we at Purple Co enjoy working with our client’s to help them learn how to use Apps to assist with their recovery, rehabilitation and return to work. You may not realise this, but many of us have been working in the field of rehabilitation prior to the ascent of personal smart phone and computers in our pockets.
I remember when I first found a Pedometer in the bottom of a Special K box and my mind exploded with all the ways it could help clients. #oldskool
That Special K Pedometer transformed a NSW Police station back in the day. Transforming a site that had been euphemistically dubbed the “sheltered workshop” to the “recovery centre”. From a place where people served out their career until they were medically discharged, to the place where you went to recover and return to your unit.
Technology has progressed and will continue to progress at rapid rates. What I know is how we use technology on a daily basis has become a literacy. We need to be keeping up as much as our clients need to be keeping up. We now have an evidence base that suggests that Everyday Technology and Digital Literacy is as important in helping people navigate a return to work pathway as medical management and restoration of function.
We now hear of Big Data, of Artificial Intelligence of Robotics and Virtual Reality all playing a role in helping people to return to work following injury, illness and trauma. Illnesses that once meant someone could not work have become a thing of the past; this current age has opened up so many opportunities for people to access good work. #HBGW
However being the awesome, overachieving often overthinking professionals that we are, we can complicate matters. What you may not realise is that you have a range of really great tools in your pocket that can assist you, your client’s and your client’s families to observe their progress and make meaningful change.
The good news is, you don’t need a computer science degree, nor do you need to be the next Tech Guru. We just need to look at the things we use in everyday life and explore how these can work for our clients too.
Everyone uses Apps, in fact I think this is one of the most heard statements of the day “is there an App for that?”.
Ross Miller, Rebecca McMurray and I here at Purple Co HQ, put our thinking caps on and came up with some very commonplace, easy to access Apps that we are using consistently with clients to help them manage their life, map their progress and prepare for change.
This is what we came up with…
LastPass has been a lifesaver and something that empowers clients to feel in control of all of their log-in details and passwords. Whenever someone tried to explain to me that they can’t remember their logins for something, then I go to Lastpass and help them get set up. Jo Muirhead
- Fitbit or some type of activity tracker
I find that I am invariably talking to clients about a need to move more, to drink more water and to have some way of measuring progress. Most client’s have a smart phone, smart watch or wear some type of activity tracker – incorporating the use of an activity tracker to their rehabilitation activity and being accountable to me has been a great way to increase engagement with a focus on what the client can do, rather than on what they can’t do. Jo Muirhead
- Headspace Meditation App
Most clients are receiving some recommendation to start a meditation or mindfulness practice. A common barrier that comes up is that clients simply don’t know how. Before I go recommending a piece of wearable technology I work with a client to use the Headspace App and introduce them to how easy it is to practice mindfulness and to track the changes they experience as a result. Jo Muirhead
This App has demonstrated that it has the ability to help people handle highly stressful and anxious periods of their lives. This includes loss of role, lack of employment, loss of placement in the community and a chance to bring about positive change in difficult circumstances. Great for people moving through complex rehabilitation and available at any time. Imagine being able to de-stress 30 minutes before an interview using a trusted and practiced method. Ross Miller
This is a low cost app that assists in mindfulness and meditation practices to reduce anxiety and overwhelm and improve focus, concentration and overall well-being. It is similar to the Headspace app. I assist clients to set this up on their phone and run through some of the basic features to increase the chances of them following their individual practice independently. Bec McMurray
- Insight Timer
This is a free app that hosts hundreds of thousands of different meditation and mindfulness practices from guided meditations on general well-being to self love, anxiety, depression, sleep and more. This app also features various lengths of ambient music, as well as other healing vibrational sounds that can be set at specific lengths depending on the clients interests. I recommend this app to all my clients to support their own mindfulness practices as it is free, easy to use and caters for all needs. I particularly use the ambient music to support a client’s mindfulness practice as needed. Bec McMurray
I have used this app to help clients who have found completing grocery shopping to be overwhelming. I have found that by having an interactive list on their phone, it helps to keep the client engaged in the task at hand and distracted from their environment. I work with clients to set up their list, starting small and building up to a larger list as they progress. Not entirely conventional but has been great for clients with PTSD and significant anxiety to date. Bec McMurray
- WPS Office
This App allows a person to open up a cover letter, adjust it to meet the needs of the advertised role, address selection criteria and save and send, all from the mobile device no matter where they are in signal range. No more having to go home, open up the computer,find the document and do all that. If the person needs to send something now in MS Office format such as WORD, it is there ready to go. It is free and provides good quality editing and sharing options. Ross Miller
This is an essential tool for an active job search participant. By keeping immediate access to their reference materials, copies of certifications, Resumes, cover letters, guide documents and more, a person can locate, read, adjust, learn, focus, forward and manage all their materials from a secure site. If an employer wants a copy of a Qualification, it can be immediately shared. Drop Box is probably more important than most other job search rehabilitation tools. It is free and easily used and is not tied up with large technology companies like FB, MS or Google. Ross Miller
Resources specifically to assist with chronic pain: Sonia Judd
These resources are for all clients, but particularly those who live outside of easy access to a more formal Pain Clinic program, or when waiting lists are prohibitively long.
This is a small sample of commonplace Apps that we are using with clients consistently. We would love to be able to include your recommendations to this list!
Please let us know your top 3 Apps to use with client’s, the web link for the App, and a couple of sentences about why you love the App.
Here’s to creating an incredible piece of collaboration to use with clients, their families and to add incredible value to other services providers.
Are you interested in knowing who Jo Muirhead, Rebecca McMurray and Ross Miller are? You can check us out here .
Articles used in the preparation of this post: