Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Caringbridge . . . Connects Families During Health Crisis

CaringBridge logo

Several years ago I read a newspaper story about a beautiful young mother fighting for her life against bacterial meningitis. I didn't know the lady, but the story was so sad and compelling that I visited the link provided in the article which took me to Sheila Redington's "Caringbridge" website. I followed Sheila's story for days--prayed for her and grieved for the loss of this remarkable lady.

Caringbridge is a non-profit website that allows families facing a health crisis to make a free webpage for their loved one. The web page is almost like a blog which helps keep family and friends in the loop about a loved ones' health issue. Only individuals who are privy to the website for your loved one can view the information unless you choose to share it with the general public. You can post as much or as little information as you wish; see Sheila's story for an example. A wonderful feature of the website is that your loved ones can also communicate their thoughts and good wishes in the online "guest book" for your webpage. The over 1000 touching messages in Sheila's Caringbridge guestbook stand as a tribute to the outpouring of emotion expressed by her friends, extended family members, and others.

Some hospitals have partnered with Caringbridge to inform families of this great, free option. Here's what the Universtiy of Maryland Medical Center tells their patients: "The personal site is private and only those with the site address may visit. 'Caringbridge is a remarkable resource for patients and their families during a challenging time,' said Anne Williams, Manager, Patient Resource Center at UMMC. 'Family members can easily update loved ones without having to field too many phone calls and questions during an stressful time in their lives. They find comfort and encouragement in the messages of support posted in their guest book.' A Caringbridge website helps keep loved ones informed during difficult times. In return, family and friends give patient and caregiver support through guestbook messages."

Learn more about CaringBridge, a nonprofit organization

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