Saturday, September 16, 2006

How to Stay in Touch When Illness Strikes

resources to rely on

Web Technology

At Its Best

The ring of the phone jolts you awake, sending shivers up your spine. Wishing you had the strength to talk to those you love, you instead find yourself wanting to scream, “Leave me alone – I’m sick!” Then, in a familiar routine, you watch from the hospital bed as your exhausted husband (wife, son, mother) repeats the details of your day for the seventeenth time. “If only there were a better way to stay in touch,” you silently muse. Indeed – if only there were a better way…

A number of providers are currently paving just such a better way through cyberspace. In association with their bricks and mortar health care partners, several companies are building interactive Web pages that allow patients to provide an overview of their condition, post daily updates, upload photos and make special requests known – all with the click of a mouse. Friends can access the site twenty-four-seven to stay abreast of progress, sign a virtual guestbook and post their messages of encouragement in a special guest section.

Not surprisingly, many of the Web sites’ founders built their initial site strictly for personal use. Then, as happens when good idea meets common need, the phones began to ring and the email inboxes overflowed. The rest, as they say… To read the stories behind their founding, and to explore the online services they offer, visit, CarePages and CaringBridge.

The Web sites are free to both patients and visitors and are typically funded through donations and grants, or by the hospitals themselves. Providers go out of their way to assure privacy and the sites may easily be password protected, thus allowing access only to those provided with a security code.

In times when technology often intrudes and overwhelms it’s refreshing to find it also holds the capacity to ease burdens. You’ll sleep better knowing your friends are up to date on the latest news and they are close at hand – in cyberspace.

For more, see: Support for Patients, Just a Mouse Click Away.


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