Over a decade ago, two researchers at UW-Milwaukee set out to change the lives of caregivers who provide unpaid assistance to family members or acquaintances who have physical, psychological or developmental needs.

Rhonda Montgomery and Jessica Jacobs-Vechinski had both experienced caregiving in their personal lives. They realized there was a lack of support for the caregivers. Their company, Tailored Care Enterprises, was profiled as part of an ongoing series written by UW-Madison students.

Decades of research suggest caregiver burnout is not caused by what the family caregiver is doing.

Burnout is typically caused by how the caregiver feels about the care they provide.

In collaboration with several researchers, hundreds of care professionals, and thousands of caregivers, Montgomery and Jacobs-Vechinski created a web-based software that recognizes the impact of caregiver health on clinical outcomes and health care costs.

Four years ago, Tailored Care Enterprises developed the Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral System, or TCARE, that includes assessment and care planning tools and decision algorithms to assess the needs of family caregivers and strategically select resources to address them.

The smart-decision algorithms and machine-learning technology predict the key indicators that are most likely to cause the caregiver to burnout. Based on these indicators, the algorithms can automatically generate a tailored care plan for the caregiver to follow.

Each caregiver is provided with a handful of local community resources in the area, along with information to make an informed choice, including location, contact person eligibility and fees. Every few months, a short reassessment is completed to evaluate the changing needs of the caregiver and the family.

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