LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Veterans can face several roadblocks when it comes to receiving physical and mental health care. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, some obstacles include lack of motivation to get care; stigmas surrounding mental illness; difficulties with social interactions and behavior; limited access to affordable, convenient health care; unmet basic needs and prioritizing academics over health needs.
Understanding these barriers, Electronic Caregiver®, a 24/7 virtual care and health technology company based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Sigma College University Trade Schools, operating in Glendale, Arizona and Tacoma, Washington, have partnered to help homeless and low-income veterans and other qualifying individuals get the care they need while working toward a better future.
Through its Blu Manor program, Sigma CUTS will provide housing for homeless veterans and low-income individuals enrolled in the school’s courses. Sigma CUTS, founded by Blu Mitchell, offers scholarship-based training in some of the fastest growing industries, such as beauty/cosmetology, medicine, dentistry, caregiving, construction and more.
“Our goal as a nonprofit organization is to provide veterans (and qualifying low-income individuals) with free services, while eliminating educational debt,” Mitchell said of Sigma CUTS.
Individuals in the Blu Manor housing program will be equipped with Electronic Caregiver’s cutting-edge technology, including the Premier, a mobile security and care support system; the Pro Health, a chronic care and monitoring system; and eventually, Addison, the Virtual Caregiver™, anticipated to be released later this year. Addison is a 3D-animated caregiver designed to engage with and help monitor the health of patients via touch-screen devices strategically placed throughout a home. Both Addison and the Pro Health will also soon be able to help monitor patients’ mental health.
Electronic Caregiver® Chief Clinical Officer Tim Washburn said through the partnership, individuals in the program will receive physical, as well as behavioral care.
“There will be a medical doctor involved, there will be a psychiatrist or behavioral health specialist involved, and our equipment will support the chronic illness piece through the vital signs we already take,” Washburn said. “It will support the behavioral health piece through those pushed (mental health) assessments and getting those assessments back. And then globally, as our equipment always does, it’s going to support noticing abnormalities and getting that provider involved as soon as practical.”
Dr. Nancy Gaines-Dillard, Sigma CUTS partner and Blu Manor medical director, said having the ability to monitor patients remotely will be beneficial for both the health care provider and the patient, decreasing the number of emergency room and urgent care visits.
“It’s almost like having a primary care provider in your home monitoring your blood glucose, your oxygenation, your blood pressure, your spirometry to see what your lung capacities are,” Gaines-Dillard said. “It’s actually preventative health care, and when these numbers may be abnormal, our services can act immediately to see what the situation is and refer the patient to a higher level of care, if needed.”
Electronic Caregiver’s technology will also offer peace of mind, said Vietnam veteran Dr. John Casteele, a Washington-based licensed therapist and counselor and behavioral health partner with Sigma CUTS.
“The more we can help people to feel safe leaving the home, and even in the home, the better,” Casteele said. “We have people with different kinds of mental health disorders who are afraid to not only leave their home, sometimes they’re afraid to leave the bedroom.”
Mitchell said Blu Manor is anticipated to include 100 homes throughout Arizona, with 50 in Phoenix, each housing multiple residents. Twenty-five homes are planned for Tacoma, Washington.
“We’re looking to have about 500 people by June on (Electronic Caregiver’s) product in Arizona, and then another 200 in Washington state,” Mitchell said. “And then, wherever we go, we’re taking this product.”
Gaines-Dillard said she envisions Electronic Caregiver’s technology being a staple among residents as Blu Manor grows.
“If you can electronically monitor, remotely, an individual and troubleshoot and have access to a medical provider at your fingertips, that is a wonderful thing,” she said.
Those interested in helping a homeless or low-income veteran receive housing and health care through the Sigma CUTS Blu Manor program can make a donation at sigmacuts.org/donate.
About Electronic Caregiver®:
Electronic Caregiver® has become a leading and highly recognized brand for virtual care solutions and Remote Patient Monitoring services. The company staff size more than doubled in 2019 and is nearing 150 full-time employees. Electronic Caregiver® has invested more than $55 million and 10 years into research, development and a staged rollout of virtual care and health management solutions for chronic care patients, child patients and older adults.
Electronic Caregiver® offers its solutions through a network of leading national home care providers and health institutions and team members. Addison Care™ is the company’s most advanced new technology, offering a Virtual Caregiver™ that deploys technology using IoT, 3D animation, mixed reality, Bluetooth, natural language processing, machine learning, visual sensing and a suite of integrated electronics. The company manages its business using an advanced proprietary enterprise management platform designed by the company and named Orion.
Electronic Caregiver® and Addison Care™ are now involved in numerous official clinical research initiatives in clinical settings to further validate utilization and efficacy in areas of improved outcomes, improved treatment adherence and optimized continuum of care.
About Sigma College University Trade Schools:
The primary goal of Sigma CUTS is to provide scholarship-based training and eliminate educational debt in every community. Sigma CUTS develops in its students the highest possible degree of technical and professional competence. The nonprofit trains each of its students in the principles and practices of quality trade schools. Sigma CUTS is continually trying to provide each of its students with marketable skills and professional attitudes. These attitudes emphasize responsibility and commitment to self, employers, colleagues, clients and community.