How tracking behaviour and symptoms over time helps parents to manage children's care plans
As parents we are many times asked to report to doctors or therapists on certain behaviour or symptoms of our children, being expected to remember months back, and be objective about it.
This is very difficult, and probably impossible to do in an unbiased and objective manner.
If your child has a neuro-diverse condition like ADD or ADHD, or even just suffers from higher anxiety given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, then it is even more important to assess behaviour over time, and yet more difficult due to the extra demands placed on us as parents, as the care champions of our children.
This is one of the challenges that stood out to us, from our own experience as parents, as well as from discussions and research with other parents of children with mental health conditions.
We realised that a simple way of just making an observation on a behavioural concern, e.g. sleep or anxiety or ability to listen, every now and again will already be of tremendous value. It will give a more objective view of how specific concerns change over time.
This becomes especially valuable when correlating it with changes in the child's care plan, e.g. trying out a new sleep routine, or changing medication, or starting a new therapy.
In Tracto we made it simple to track concerns, where a concern can be either a behavioural aspect, or some symptom or side-effect of medication that you want to track.
As a member of a child's care team on Tracto, you can simply enable the tracking of one or more concerns in the Care Plan setup views, as well as determine how regular you want to be reminded to track your observation for that concern.
An observation is as simple as selecting how that concern was since the previous observation: did it go bad, poor, ok, good, or great.
We specifically avoided complex assessments.
And to keep things easy to use, we made it OK if you skip a few times — it is about having a bigger picture of the specific concerns over a longer time period that is important.
This’ll help you remember how your child was sleeping or eating 2 or 3 months ago.
Seeing progress over time
To make the data useful, it must be possible to view the changes in the behaviour or symptom over time.
In Tracto we make this available in the Progress view. It presents a simple plot of the concerns being tracked over time, and if you are a guardian or parent on a team, you can also view the concerns as tracked by other care team members.
In the Data Explore view you can zoom in on specific concerns and plot that together with changes in medication and activities to see correlations, allowing you to answer such questions as:
"Did Suzie concentrate better on homework if we did some physical exercises before homework?"
"Did my son's appetite improve since we moved to the new medication a month ago?"
Having this kind of information about concerns available is already valuable to parents, as well as other care team members, and helps us stay more objective about the actual progress of interventions.
With Tracto you can also share this information to your child's paediatrician, psychiatrist, therapists and others you want to, by simply exporting the PDF report from the Progress view.
Our approach enhances care team collaboration and the quality of information available to be used for care decision-making on your child’s care journey.
It sure beats having to sit at the doctor's office and having to think back for 6 months or longer trying to remember how well your child concentrated on school work.
Tracto is a free mobile app — get tracking today and experience the value this brings to you and your child. Click here for download links.