Eagan, Minn., (February 23, 2018) — Hospital patients that have limited visitation periods due to flu outbreaks can still receive well wishes and support through free services from CaringBridge, the nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate during a health crisis.
Since October 1, 2017, more than 8,900 people have been hospitalized due to the flu. Because of the elevated threat of H3N2 and other strains of influenza, some hospitals are placing stricter rules for visitation policies for all patients.
But the restrictions, meant to reduce the spread of viruses, do not mean those in the hospital need to feel alone. Through a personal CaringBridge site, patients and their families can make their own virtual hospital room. Patients, family and friends can gather to exchange health updates, love and support. Setting up a personal CaringBridge site takes just a few minutes.
“More and more, we are finding that love and support are key ingredients to healing,” said Liwanag Ojala, CEO of CaringBridge. “Our services provide patients a way to stay connected to their loved ones, even if their physical hospital visits are limited because of precautions from the flu.”
For those, like patient’s family caregivers, who need to make physical hospital visits this flu season, it is important to take measures to keep those in the hospital away from flu exposure. In order to not spread the flu, “No. 1, stay away from sick people. Not always possible, but stay away," says Dr. Gary Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. "Cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm. Ask others in a polite way to do the same so they don't spread those germs. Don't put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth. That's a very, very common way that this is spread.”
The CaringBridge mission is to make health journeys easier by amplifying love, hope and compassion in the world. Utilizing the free and secure CaringBridge platform for virtual visits allows this to be possible even in the face of flu season, which can last for up to 6 months in some parts of the country. CaringBridge suggests supporting critically ill patients during flu season through:
- Video-chatting with loved ones to show support and companionship
- Leaving messages of love and support through the CaringBridge website to bolster spirits
- Creating funny or uplifting videos that can be shared through CaringBridge to spread positivity
- Doing something helpful for the patient’s family that doesn’t involve face-to-face contact like shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, and delivering groceries and toiletries.
- Making sure caregivers and close family members have been properly immunized and receive the yearly flu shot
CaringBridge is a global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey through the use of free personal websites. Their mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. Nearly 90 percent of all funding comes from individual donors. Since its founding in 1997 by Sona Mehring, more than 740,000 CaringBridge websites have been created. Combined, they have received 2.1 billion visits. Today, CaringBridge CEO Liwanag Ojala leads a team of 42 professionals with expertise in the fields of technology, customer care, finance, fundraising and marketing. For more information, visit www.CaringBridge.org.