Being a Friend to a Friend Who Is Ill: Giving the Gift of Health

Posted by Courtney Larned

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Feb 20, 2014 6:15:58 PM

I recently read a book called How To Be A Friend To A Friend Who's Sick. Letty Cottin Pogrebin, the author of the book writes about the diverse reactions she recieved when she shared her breast cancer diagnosis with her family and friends, and the remainder of the book serves as a handbook to those of us who have friends and family members dealing with illness.

How to be a friend to a friend who's sick

If you're like me, you often feel crippled as to what you can do to help a friend or family member who is dealing with illness. In the chapter The Perfect Present, Pogrebin delves into some great, and some not-so-great gift ideas for your ill loved ones.

  • Gift cards to splurge on something that might otherwise be extravagant
  • Childcare
  • Books
  • Gifts with personal meaning

Things that make life more pleasureable and/or convenient seemed to top the charts of the people she interviewed. I started thinking a bit about some of my recent healthcare experiences, mainly my hand surgery, and how much easier the entire process was because I have access to my complete medical record. Less than two weeks ago, the day I found out about my surgery, I avoided x-rays, saved myself 100 miles of driving (and who knows how many hours in DC rush hour traffic), and was able to breeze through the pre-op visit because I had all of the relevant information they needed.

I was able to bring the anesthesiologist up to speed, at the point of care, with my neuro health condition, mere moments before surgery. All because I have access to my health information and I can easily share it with the people who need it.


CareSync is designed in a way that makes it easy for you to help a loved one with complete access to their health information. Just like a gift card to any store, CareSync Plus gifts are redeemable on any of the CareSync services. The most popular CareSync gift, the Getting Started package, gives your loved one (and their caregivers) 60 days of our premium care coordination services, including records retrieval and transcription to build a comprehensive past and ongoing medical history, and other appointment scheduling and pre-visit prep services.

Having access to meaningful and shareable medical information allows your loved one to spend less time worried about the administrative details, alleviates much of the uncertainty that comes with managing illness, increases confidence and engagement, and helps friends, family, and other caregivers collaboratively coordinate care.

So how does it work?

Once the plan is purchased and the release forms are signed, our team of care coordination specialists begin the task of gathering, organizing and transcribing important medical information contained in the patients medical history- from current prescriptions to information gathered during specialist visits. Summaries of each past visit are added to their CareSync; the information is quickly able to be filtered and shared with providers. Web, iOS, and Android apps give your loved one access to their health information, make it easily shareable, no matter where they are, and because the apps are free to use, it is something they'll own forever, even when the gift subscription ends.


So, I actually started writing this post last week, but I guess the big takeaway is this: Gifts for a loved one dealing with illness come in all shapes and sizes, and according to Pogrebin and the people she interviewed, the best gifts are those that help increase pleasure, or make life better.

I had an appointment yesterday to get my hair washed, the hardest thing for me to do while temporarily down a hand, and my stylist was in somewhat of a hurry. I was a little bothered at first, until I realized his next client was someone who regularly came in, but was recently hospitalized with cancer. His gift to her, as she was starting to lose her long blonde hair, was to go to her, and make her feel beautiful with a chic bob cut and style.

If you can't help your loved one with their hair, consider giving the gift of health, with access to their complete medical record.

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