www.caringbridge.org – Caring Bridge

Your 80 year young mother trips and falls, a neighbor calls and you hurry to her side. It is apparent that she can’t walk on her own so you call an ambulance for transport, with a possible hip fracture, to the hospital Emergency Room. While waiting for hours in the ER for x-rays and physician consults, you contact immediate family with the news. The broken hip is confirmed; your mom is admitted while waiting for surgery. Finally settled in her room, the many incoming calls to your cell phone begin (including calls to the hospital nurses’ station) along with text messages from all her grandchildren. For every call and text, you respond with the same answers to the same questions and concerns; over and over.

Caringbridge is a non-profit organization that provides free family-centered, private, personalized websites for hospital patients to share information with family and friends and to receive encouraging and loving messages of support during a serious health challenge, care and recovery.

  • Each day half-a-million people connect through Caringbridge.org at no cost in all 50 states and more than 225 countries/territories around the world.
  • More than 1 billion visits have been made to personal Caringbridge websites since its inception in 1997.

The site is professional, well organized and easy to navigate; allowing the primary family member (author) to select from 159 templates and 13 styles to easily design a personalized and private website, even adding up to 51 family photos and author’s text to give the site the right feel and personality. The site is web based so only an internet connection is needed to stay in touch with family and friends. All customer care issues and questions are handled by Caringbridge staff.

The website is available any time, even on the go via a web enabled smart phone and a free iPhone app. There is a Face Book connect to notify FB friends when there are journal updates. Texters can receive notifications whenever there is a new journal entry.

HIPAA regulations are not an issue because only the family author posts journal updates and information, not the physicians or nurses.

It is easy to set up the private family website: The family author accesses www.caringbridge.org, clicks on create and begins personalizing the site. If concerned about privacy, additional layers may be added i.e. requiring all visitors to log in or requiring a family password before accessing the site. Once at the website, the visitor clicks “visit.”

After the crisis is over, if desired, the website entries can be edited and transformed into a color, hard or soft copy CaringBook for an affordable fee. Only the family author can edit the journal and place the orders for family and friends.

How can this emotionally valuable and family centered website be offered at no cost? The non-profit Caringbridge organization is fully funded from donations: 90% comes from families who use the program and experience the benefits. 10% comes from professional organizations (many healthcare related) that provide donated services or facilities or sponsored revenue.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that in 2008, ERs treated 282,476 injuries among Baby Boomers (a 47% increase from a decade earlier). Advice to Boomers: as you reinvent yourselves and, aggressively work to stay forever young; as your parents age, and as your grandchildren begin driving there are bound to be hospital stays in the future. Keep this free, invaluable website www.carringbridge.org at your finger tips or better yet add the free app to your iPhone.