Hi! My name is Lisa Cassaro. I’m so glad that your journey to create a better healthcare experience for yourself or someone you care about has led you here! I invite you to sit for a few minutes, with your favorite beverage and see into the window of who I am…
The following is a snapshot of my Patient Advocacy story, which I share with you, so that you know that if you’re a patient, a caregiver or someone that finds themselves bereaved, I have limped, walked and run in your shoes. I have a sense of your frustration with the healthcare system; feeling bewildered and disenchanted with how to find information and resources that are applicable to my situation and experiencing the pain of losing someone that I’ve loved deeply.
In November 2019, I obtained my national credential as a Board Certified Patient Advocate, but really began advocacy some 30 years ago, when my six month old infant son was diagnosed with a terminal illness (before the internet!) at Children’s Hospital in Orange County, California.
Not too many years after that, I had ambitions to become a nurse and became a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant). After that, I enrolled in pre-Nursing courses at the local community college, while on the waiting list to be accepted to the RN program. Life took another turn and I decided to pursue other ventures at the time, but I’ve always maintained my passions for life-long learning and helping people.
Fast forward to 2005 when my 47-year-old husband was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer, I again engaged in advocacy, this time for him, which took us to 3 hospitals over several hundred miles in the state. Sadly, he lost his 18-month battle, leaving me a widow at age 47. Grieving the loss of my husband was made more difficult when issues with extended family and displaced grief caused our blended family to fracture apart.
In 2008 I enrolled in the Cleveland State University Patient Advocate Certificate program. I completed the coursework in 2010, after undergoing two serious medical situations myself, and co-managing my Mom’s long distance care for chronic illness, and subsequent death in 2009.
My journey has included both professional and paraprofessional healthcare advocacy, over the last 15 years including:
- Social Work Coordinator at a 95-bed Rehab/Skilled Nursing Facility
- Assistant Case Manager – 25-bed Long Term Acute Care Hospital
- Cancer Genetic Counseling Assistant serving ~1,000 clients the first year
- Non-Medical Case Manager serving ~150 clients in a statewide HIV Program
- Co-Founder for an Amputee & Caregiver Support Group
- Founder of a Chronic Illness & Caregiver Peer Support Group
- 840 hrs. CPE Hospital Chaplaincy training in Acute Care Hospitals and a specialty Women’s Hospital
- Additional training in Hospice/Palliative Care – End of Life Support
Over the years, I’ve helped many families and individuals by researching information and helping them understand their options for their own personal healthcare journey, for their loved one or navigating a bereavement experience.
I specialize in advance care planning for individuals or groups, reviewing medical care plans and locating second opinions, resolving insurance discrepancies, or navigating a healthcare journey from hospitalization to continuing care choices, especially for elder orphans or solo agers.
I look forward to talking with you and hearing about your story. Together we can sort out your options, create a personalized plan, and work toward achieving your goals.