CLEVELAND, June 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After discovering it was much easier to find consumer reviews for restaurants and hotels than care and services for her terminally ill father, aging mother and disabled brother, Colleen Beard began developing CareSpotlight.com - a national information and consumer review website of care and service providers. Whether affected by aging, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, disease, serious mental illness, chronic or terminal illness, or serious injuries, CareSpotlight intends to provide a quality platform for information-sharing across America.
Currently, Beard is spearheading a GoFundMe campaign to raise enough capital to build a high-quality and comprehensive website that will provide invaluable feedback at no charge to millions of Americans in need, their loved ones, advocates, and professionals. Beard is hopeful that people who understand the need for this resource will support her efforts, with the belief that many people contributing smaller amounts can be just as, or even more, effective than a few large contributions. She is also seeking to connect with sponsors and angel investors for the next phase of this venture.
"Finding the right care and services for ourselves and loved ones can be trying no matter the situation, and when someone is unable to advocate for themselves, it makes it all the more challenging. While these decisions always have the potential to be life-changing, in some cases it can mean the difference between life and death. We need to hear from people that have 'walked a mile in our shoes', or that are experiencing similar situations, via a quality and thoughtful medium," Beard implores.
Over the last 15 years, Beard has made difficult decisions regarding an array of care and services for family, and the providers she has had experiences with have ranged from very high quality to negligent. Beard was the primary caregiver for her father who died of kidney cancer in 2001. It was a five-month battle for her father that included surgery, home healthcare and eventually hospice. Now a parent herself, she advocates for her mother, a two-time Breast Cancer survivor who resides in a nursing facility and struggles with the daily frustrations of dementia and Macular Degeneration. Beard is also legal guardian to her brother Patrick, 45, who has Cerebral Palsy and is severely affected both physically and developmentally. Patrick is unable to advocate for himself and requires 24-hour care.
In February of this year, Beard moved Patrick from the group home he resided in for over 20 years due to declining care, only to face even worse problems. Finding a new home was a three-year process due of the shortage of accessible residences for developmentally disabled and long waiting lists. Beard also claims online information for families regarding providers is extremely scarce. Although Beard thought she had finally found the perfect location for her brother, within the first week of Patrick living there, he was so severely neglected that Beard was forced to move him to an emergency respite facility, where he resides today until a new home can be found.
While Beard hopes to ensure that no one is ever victim to the same type of neglect Patrick experienced, she is also aware of the countless care and service providers that are doing amazing work every day, and doing it well. "We need to hear more about these organizations too," Beard states. CareSpotlight is equipped with a constructive review process that includes providers being notified when a review is posted and will have the opportunity to publicly respond. "This needs to be a transparent process in order to be helpful to all parties involved," Beard says.
CareSpotlight.com's directory will include the following for children, teens and adults in need: short- and long-term residential care facilities and communities; wheelchair and elder-friendly transportation; home healthcare and personal companion services; physical rehabilitation facilities; physical, speech and occupational therapy; hospice; day activity centers, workshops and supported employment; recreation and respite; and more.
In addition to the directory with reviews, the site will offer: social networking and opportunities to connect with others in similar situations; resources; user-submitted event listings; health and advocacy news; and recommended wellness, safety, mobility, and adaptive products that meet specified CareSpotlight criteria.
While Beard is busy raising funds, she is also already collecting information on CareSpotlight.com. Visitors can add: provider reviews that will be published upon official site launch; provider listings for the directory; user-submitted event listings; personal "care stories"; and testimonials in support of this site being built. For more information and to watch the crowdfunding campaign video, visit www.carespotlight.com. To make a contribution, visit the CareSpotlight GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/carespotlight. Contributions can be made in someone's honor or memory.