Spotlight on CareBrigade: How a CareBrigade Can Help You

CareBrigade was created by Florence Harvey for herself, when diagnosed 10 years ago, in a new city far from family. A CareBrigade is a Patient Advocacy Posse of friends, family, neighbors, church members and acquaintances that can be lined up right after the diagnosis, even before the Patient  knows what he/she might be needing, and that be called on at any stage of the medical journey.

The CareBrigade 5 Step system ©  empowers a Patient supported by at least 2 friends or family members chosen by the Patient. To get a CareBrigade started, identify the possible specific needs  (a “Wish List” of tasks),  timelines, and  the talent available in advance, and have a ‘worker bee” team in place “just in case” and  “just in time.”  The Patient chooses  her/his Core Team:  Co-Leader, Scribe, Medical Researcher, Communicator, and communicates directly with them. The Co-Leader (supported by a Scheduler) buffers the Patient  dealing with too many people during a time period that can be overwhelming.

A CareBrigade

  • Empowers Patients to be a full partner with their medical providers,  supported by friends and families with some medical savvy, serving as volunteer Patient Advocates,  Patient Navigators, Scribes,  and medical researchers/consultants.
  • Empowers  Patient’s families,  friends, and  acquaintances to know  in advance which “tasks” might be most challenging for the Patient at each stage, to  pick in advance the ones they could joyfully and easily do, and volunteer before the Patient has to ask.
  • Encourages Patients to use self-care, alternative therapies, relaxation techniques, a compassionate listener,  and self-designed spiritual practices to manage their own fear and anxiety through each stage of the healing journey.
  • Enrolls Friends and Family (even those at a distance) to play valuable roles the Patient might not think of  (like Co-Leader, Spiritual Advocate, Scheduler, Communicator)  using Web based tools, the telephone, or Skype.
  • Solicits in advance (on behalf of the Patient)  willing to offer day-to-day practical support volunteers for Tasks customized to  match the volunteers gifts and the projected at-home recovery Wish List needs generated by the Patient.

The FREE CareBrigade Web site  can be used by folks who want to help,  to learn and use the Roles,   no matter the distance. The Web site outlines the 5 steps, suggests 6 Core Support  Roles, offers forms and WEB sites for each Role, and provides a Resources page suggesting additional Medical, Spiritual, Practical tools to facilitate execution of a CareBrigade.

Watch the following video as a CareBrigade member talks about her experience: