Founders April Creed and Rebecca Glover had both professional and personal experience of the challenges of caring for older people before embarking on their startup, ExSitu.
“We saw that people become very vulnerable, that they lose their voice and their identity as they age and as they need more care, so we wanted to see what we could do about that,” according to Rebecca.
An enriched experience
ExSitu is a cloud-based app that uses card sorting to help people clarify what’s important to them and communicate it in a way that those who will care for them understand – whether it be family, GPs or nurses and aged care staff.
“For example, I love swimming in the ocean, I will probably always love swimming in the ocean. But even if I get older, and I can’t, I’d probably want to spend my homecare funds on going down to the beach once a week and dipping my toes in the water. That’s important to me, just as important as getting my shopping done,” Rebecca says.
“Traditionally, the way that we provide care for people and the assessment processes we do, those kinds of passions don’t come out. We needed a more effective and efficient way of discovering what’s really important to people, and that’s what we’ve developed.”
Relevant and relatable
The two founders have designed ExSitu to align to national aged care frameworks and the ongoing movement in the care sector to patient-centred care plans and arrangements. As well, ExSitu can be a legal document that complements Power of Attorney and Advanced Care Plans.
“The app is a bit like a game of solitaire, to really help to condense all that complicated, heavy information that gets presented to people and overwhelms them when they’re in the aged care sector. And not just communicate, but really reflect on what’s important to them. It captures insights of the person’s own words, and then translates the information into clinically and legally recognised documents,” April says.
The app can be used by individuals in a one-off way, by legal practitioners to assist client planning, by GPs to help patients in new care arrangements and by in-home and residential care services to understand the individual needs of clients as well as help to meet industry standards. Several aged care providers are already ExSitu clients.
ExSitu have been recognised with several industry nominations and awards, including receiving the WomenTech Network 2020 Global Generational Inclusion Award.
The decision to initiate their startup journey in Wollongong was based on two critical aspects: Partnership with the University of Wollongong, to maintain an evidence-based approach to the ExSitu product; and work-life balance, to have the ability to manage family commitments, founder commitments and pursue their other passions. For April, its permaculture; for Rebecca, it’s surfing.
“We work hard. We work very hard for what we do and it was really important to us to prove that you could have a work-life balance, you can still take care of your children you can do all those things that you love, as well as and contribute to your professional life at the same time, without the burn out,” according to April.