St. Mary's Provides Personal Websites to Patients/Families 01/29/2007 St. Mary’s Advanced Care Hospital has partnered with CaringBridge, the world’s oldest, most widely used free online service, to help patients and their families stay in touch with loved ones while they are receiving care.
Launched on August 30, patients and their families can now access CaringBridge on the Internet through St. Mary’s website at www.stmarys.org and easily create a secure, personal website to post journal entries and photographs for their family and friends. The service allows the family to easily update everyone and still be able to focus their energies on the loved one who requires healing, previously the only option was to go through a long list of phone numbers. Visitors who are provided the personal website address and password, can read updates and post messages of support and encouragement to the family.
“Hospital stays are stressful and tiring making it a challenge to keep all family and friends informed of a patient’s condition or progress, especially for patients who have a long stay in the hospital,” said Vickie Detroy, director of Planetree Services at St. Mary’s. “Through CaringBridge we hope to improve the patient and family experience at St. Mary’s by offering these websites to assist in facilitating communication and information sharing while allowing friends and family to send messages of care and concern.”
The free CaringBridge service makes a profound connection with users and visitors. “CaringBridge takes cold, impersonal technology and uses it to serve a higher purpose in a most intimate and powerful way,” said Sona Mehring, founder and executive director of CaringBridge. “I believe the Internet has a higher calling - helping bring people together at important times, facilitating love and support that is meaningful for all involved, wherever they may be,” she added.
The inspiration for CaringBridge came from a real life experience. When Mehring’s friend developed a life-threatening condition and prematurely delivered her baby, Brighid, during the 24th week of pregnancy, Mehring created a website to keep family and friends connected and informed. Although baby Brighid died at the age of nine days, she inspired a remarkable grassroots phenomenon that continues to extend love, encouragement and hope around the world.
Nearly 35,000 CaringBridge sites have been created since 1997. There have been 190 million visits to those personal sites, and five million guestbook entries written. Up to 1,400 new sites are being created each month. Approximately 70 percent of the web pages are created for sick or injured children and newborns.
“CaringBridge welcomes St. Mary’s as a partner. I want to thank the leadership and staff for recognizing the value of CaringBridge as a useful tool for patients and their families during challenging times,” said Sona Mehring, CaringBridge’s founder and executive director.