SOURCE: CarePages

March 10, 2008 10:00 ET

New Study Confirms Health Benefits of Social Networks

Dr. Sharon Langshur, Founder of Online Community CarePages, Has Unique Insights on How Emotional Connections Enhance Patient Experiences

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - March 10, 2008) - A recent headline in the New York Times confirmed what countless members of CarePages.com, healthcare's largest online community connecting patients and caregivers to communities of support, have experienced first-hand:

"Prognosis: Large Social Networks May Help Surgical Patients"

The article highlighted research from the February issue of The Journal of the American College of Surgeons, which showed that, "the one-fifth of patients with the smallest social networks reported almost twice as much post-operative pain intensity as the one-fifth with the largest. Smaller social networks were also associated with longer hospital stays."

These results were of no surprise to Dr. Sharon Langshur, a pediatrician and the co-founder of CarePages, which offers free, personalized Web pages that help patients and caregivers build communities of support during a health challenge. Since 2000, more than 3 million people have registered at CarePages to communicate with friends and family, stay informed and find people experiencing similar medical situations. She and her husband Eric began CarePages after their son, Matthew, was diagnosed with a heart defect and had multiple surgeries and hospitalizations soon after his birth.

"I know what it's like to go through a healthcare crisis, and it's impossible to overstate how much emotional support and connection means in such situations," she says.

Dr. Langshur can comment on the broader implications of the ACS research and similar studies. She can discuss the latest trends in patient care and how hospitals are recognizing that patients' experiences are enhanced by treating the whole person. As a physician, she is also an expert on healing and how patient's mental health and well-being influences outcomes, including:

--  The healing power of community; CarePages receives thousands of e-mails a
    year from members commenting on how beneficial it is to receive support
    from both their immediate and extended networks of supports (the average
    number of members for each CarePage has increased from 25 in 2000 to more
    than 75 today).
--  How "telling your story" can be therapeutic for patients and their
    caregivers; for example, a new report in The Oncologist revealed that
    expressive writing (writing down your thoughts and feelings) may improve
    the quality of life of cancer patients.
    

In addition to offering her own perspective, Dr. Langshur can share the inspirational stories of many CarePages' "heroes" who have faced a medical challenge with hope and then gone the extra mile to help others. She recently received a "Strength and Spirit Award" from Redbook magazine, and co-wrote "We Carry Each Other," inspiring lessons on caring with compassion from patients and their caregivers. To schedule an interview with Dr. Langshur, please contact Peter Duckler at HLB Communications, Inc. at (312) 649-0371.

About CarePages

CarePages.com is the largest online community of people helping each other cope with the emotional challenges of a medical situation. More than three million CarePages.com members have used its free, patient-centric web pages to communicate and connect with each other, plus its unique resources to guide them through the experience. In addition, customized CarePages are offered by nearly 700 U.S. and Canadian healthcare facilities. CarePages, Inc. is part of Revolution Health Group LLC, whose goal is to help consumers make informed choices and put them in control of their health decisions through the cornerstone of its efforts -- RevolutionHealth.com. Together, these services address both the emotional and informational health care needs of its members. For more information, please visit www.carepages.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact

    Peter Duckler
    (312) 649-0371
    HLB Communications, Inc.
    Email Contact

    Erin McDaniel
    (773) 327-7402
    CarePages, Inc.
    Email Contact