CH's Beard fills patient-advocacy service gap
“My real passion is helping people whose voices are too often not heard—people who are struggling with how to, or are otherwise unable to, self-advocate,” said Colleen Beard. She has spent the last several years developing a Heights-based business, CareSpotlight, which provides patient advocacy, care coordination, and visitation to aging adults and their families, as well as to individuals of all ages who are living with disabilities, illness, or serious injuries.
A board-certified patient advocate, Beard is also credentialed by Keeping Us Safe to conduct self-assessments for older drivers, which is perhaps the kindest way to help a loved-one understand when it is time to retire the car keys.
Beard also offers information about driving safety and caregiving for anyone seeking supportive services for a loved one.
With a warmth that conveys her deep compassion, Beard explained that patient advocacy can include taking on responsibilities "just as a family member would do.”
Often, family members have done the first step of finding a facility for a loved one who can no longer live at home. But, sandwiched between elder care, careers, and raising their own children, family members cannot always do the day-to-day follow-up.
As a patient advocate, Beard is able to communicate with medical professionals, attend care conferences, and report back to the family. Because of her expertise, she is able to help families with the process of transferring someone from hospital to home, and linking to local businesses that offer quality in-home services.
After more than 20 years advocating for her own family members, Beard found herself lending time to friends as a way to be helpful. Realizing this was her passion, Beard transitioned her public relations expertise into individualized patient care services.
In addition to offering local hands-on support, Beard has organized CareSpotlight’s website to offer a national directory of resources in adult care. Beard is on the lookout for investors to help launch the directory in the near future.
A lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, Beard is proud to raise her own family here with her husband, who is a fellow Heights High graduate and local entrepreneur.
[CareSpotlight is offering a special summer promotion for Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents. They, along with families with a loved one who lives in the Heights and needs support, can receive a free one-hour care consultation, and/or $50 off the driving self-assessment. Contact Colleen Beard at 216-659-5519. The offer is valid through Aug. 31, 2018.]
Mostly a mom, Shari Nacson, LISW-S, is a freelance editor, child development specialist, and nonprofit consultant who makes her home in Cleveland Heights. More than anything, Nacson is inspired by kids and adults who build connection through kindness.