Free Patient website connects loved ones during serious events

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My dentist and CaringBridge.org

This is a break from writing about IT services and it happened today while I was with my dentist. I am not sure how I would respond if I was told that my child had a serious illness. How would you cope with such bad news? This story is about a free website for patients to connect loved ones during a serious health event. You see my dentist has a teenage daughter who has cancer. She is 17 years old. We spoke of the continuing battle that is tough on the family. Not knowing if the chemo works and if the next series of treatments will be the end of her illness. How would you cope if it affected a family member? I like my dentist and I am glad he chose to continue his daily routine of meeting with his patients. He told me how he keeps going – by entering his feelings in an on-line journal. He pointed me to this link caringbridge.org. If you or anyone you know are going through the challenges of coping with a member of your family who has a serious illness please check out this website – highly recommended.

CaringBridge is the world’s oldest and most widely-used free online service for keeping families and loved ones connected while facing a serious health event, receiving care and in recovery. Its mission is to bring together a global community of care powered by the love of family and friends in an easy, accessible and private way. CaringBridge is a charitable organization funded by private donations and partnerships.

History

In 1997, founder Sona Mehring’s close friend developed a life-threatening pregnancy. To keep family and friends informed about the critical situation, Mehring created a website to communicate information to a wide circle of family and friends without disturbing the mother’s need for rest or placing additional demands on hospital staff. Baby Brighid was born almost three months premature. With her mother in critical condition, the one-pound preemie was quickly rushed to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. The family posted daily news about mom and Brighid on the website. An accompanying online guestbook enabled visitors to send the family messages of love and encouragement. Sadly, Brighid’s story does not have a happy ending. After a nine-day struggle against tremendous odds, she died in surgery.

The website allowed the family to convey this saddest of news without the painful burden of several emotional phone calls. The parents also had a place to post a final message to honor Brighid and their supportive online community. Brighid’s death prompted an outpouring of loving messages to the family. They immediately understood that other patients dealing with the birth of a premature baby, childhood cancer or other critical illness would benefit from the same online resources. A memorial fund, created in Brighid’s memory, enabled Children’s Hospital in St. Paul to dedicate a computer and Internet access for patients and families wishing to create their own online communities. And CaringBridge was born.

Today more than 36 million people have visited CaringBridge.org in the last 12 months.

More than 195,000 personal sites have been created.

Over 1.1 billion visits have been made to personal CaringBridge websites.

Each day, over half-a-million people connect through CaringBridge.

The CaringBridge community includes authors, visitors and/or donors in all 50 states and more than 225 countries/territories around the world.

Thanks I hope this can be of use to others…….. Jim

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6 thoughts on “Free Patient website connects loved ones during serious events

    Andy De said:
    Wednesday, 10Mar2010 at 12:28 AM

    Nice blogpost, Jim. A similar solution is also provided by Care Flash and Patients Like Me (for orphan diseases).

    Interestingly enough, people are also using the groups functionality of Facebook to build and engage similar communities.

    Jim Sabogal responded:
    Wednesday, 10Mar2010 at 7:18 AM

    Thanks Andy for your feedback.

    Melissa Holm said:
    Wednesday, 10Mar2010 at 9:36 AM

    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for writing about CaringBridge and spreading the word to others who could benefit from our free service.
    – Melissa, Media Relations, CaringBridge

      Jim Sabogal responded:
      Wednesday, 10Mar2010 at 10:33 AM

      Hi Melissa,
      I am happy to support such a worthy cause. I can see the proof in the eyes of my dentist as he spoke about his daughter and the feeling of community when he spoke of what your service means to him.
      Happy to spread the word……. Kind regards, Jim

    event catering london said:
    Thursday, 15Apr2010 at 8:40 AM

    great site, its pleasing to see a good site like this the web needs more like it, keep it up

      Jim Sabogal responded:
      Friday, 16Apr2010 at 7:48 AM

      Hi Danny,
      Thanks for your comment. What about this site do you like? I’m also evaluating the iPhone app for CaringBridge and hope to follow-up on this posting with that review.
      Appreciate your feedback…….thanks, Jim

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