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6/18/2008
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Intel Launches Social Networking Site For Family Caregivers

ConnectingForCare.com and its U.K. counterpart were built in hopes that caregivers can interact and share information on medical research and treatments.

A new social networking site set up by chipmaker Intel allows caregivers, nurses, and social workers to connect.

Intel announced the launch of ConnectingForCare.com and ConnectingForCare.co.uk this week. The sites allow users to create profiles, interact, and share information on medical research and treatments. Intel said it hopes the site will help caregivers in the United States and the United Kingdom better coordinate care for the sick, elderly, and disabled.

"Family caregivers are providing 80% of all of the long-term care for people with chronic illness and disabilities," Suzanne Mintz, president and co-founder of the National Family Caregivers Association, said in the announcement. "Caregivers are often the primary providers of this care, so it is crucial that we work to establish better lines of communication between all members of the care team. We are excited to work with Intel on Connecting For Care to facilitate the flow of information while showing family caregivers that they are not alone."

The association estimates that 50 million Americans care for a family member. Ian Ziering of "Beverly Hills: 90210" and "Dancing with the Stars" is one of them. He said that he has often wished it was easier to connect with others who care for a family member. His father has suffered from kidney failure. He is a spokesperson for the campaign.

"When my dad's kidney failed, my brothers and I became instant caregivers without any past experience or knowledge and we were forced to navigate a world totally new to us," Ziering said.

He said he wanted to talk with other caregivers about treatment options, navigating the health care system, and for emotional support.

ConnectingForCare.com offers a "My Connections" page with an individual profile and a list of network memberships based on personal needs and interests. The groups allow users to exchange stories, tips, and resources. Discussion forums host active dialogue around the clock.

The site also hosts information centers that focus on specific diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, COPD, and heart failure. There, users can comment and link to the latest research. Finally, the site features a "Spotlight on Caregivers," a section for shared stories and public recognition for caregivers who have touched users' lives.

The ConnectingForCare.com Web site is Intel's latest step toward improving health care through technology. The company's Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) platform helps nurses access patient records and manage the administration of medicine while providing care. The platform incorporates a bar-code scanner, a digital camera, and a wireless connection on a tablet PC.

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