The Caregiver Center: The Next Step in Patient-Centered Care
Few hospitals provide advanced care to such a diverse mix of patients as Westchester Medical Center. People from all over the region and beyond arrive unexpectedly for trauma and emergency care while others arrive for planned complex procedures knowing they will be in our hospital for an extended stay. Many of these patients are far from home and even more depend on the love and support of family and friends to help them recover.
It is our vital mission to provide the highest level of care to our patients, and we take that responsibility seriously. We also know that caring for the patient is one component in the spectrum of care. Helping the caregiver is another.
Extensive research demonstrates that caregivers are often not adequately prepared to handle the physical and emotional burdens placed on them when a loved one is hospitalized due to illness or traumatic injury. Unfortunately, sometimes these incidents may have an ongoing impact on the quality of life of the patient and caregiver for weeks, months or even a lifetime. For that reason, Westchester Medical Center developed the Caregiver Program, which was designed to support family and friends by offering assistance such as referrals to community resources, nearby hotels, as well as more intimate forms of support such as conversation and compassion. During 2014, more than 2,300 people received assistance through this Caregiver Program.
In 2015, the investment in the Caregiver Program has grown exponentially. We have now committed over $1,000,000 to so that the program can evolve to become the Caregiver Center, an 1,800 square foot enclave that is currently under construction in the main lobby of Westchester Medical Center. Designed to provide a retreat for family, as well as clinical staff, this space is where emotional and physical support will be on hand for all who need it. As with the current program, we will offer advocacy services, social work and chaplaincy services for all caregivers. But this additional, state-of-the-art respite, designed as a space which incorporates the healing elements of art, design and texture, will offer access to the most up-to-date information resources, including computer access ,wireless and mobile device charging stations, and information on area resources. Refreshments will be available 24/7 and other amenities such as yoga and reiki therapies, aromatherapy, showers and private rest stations, will be provided. We will also be able to offer educational services to help caregivers and families cope and adjust to their loved ones trauma or illness, provide access to legal and financial counsel, assist them in mobilizing resources for temporary or permanent disability-related extended home care, and offer professional help with any transitions that may be needed. Whether it is folding into a comfortable lounge chair to have a quiet moment in between visits with a loved one, or a place to make phone calls and provide important updates to others who cannot be here, the Caregiver Center is designed to become a home away from home, when comfort and compassion are needed most.
The Caregiver Center is the next step in Westchester Medical Center’s long-standing commitment to patient-centered care—a unique, integrated model of support, resources, education and empowerment.