WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- When a loved one is struck with a debilitating illness and faces the long road to recovery, having the proper caregiver can make all the difference.
"The caregiver is such an important person in the whole rehabilitation process," said Sandra Alexandrou, senior administrator of inpatient rehabilitation services at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains. "The family members that will act as the caregiver are hugely important. They can make discharge home a safe option."
Caregiver responsibility can range from simply providing supervision with certain tasks to hands on care such as bathing, dressing and feeding.
"Once the team has identified that the patient can go home safely, the caregiver is educated on the activities they can participate in," said Alexandrou. For example some patients need help with grooming, while others need assistance walking or dressing. "We give them an idea of what being a caregiver for a specific person entails," she said. In many cases, caregivers' lives are changed forever.
Burke also offers an array of support groups for caregivers, based on patient diagnoses. The life of a family member can be changed dramatically, so being surrounded by people in similar situations allows fosters connections, a sharing information and avoids isolation.
"We've seen caregivers who have quit jobs to provide care to patients," said Alexandrou. "Patients that receive the support of a family member have huge benefit and many caregivers feel this is what they need and want to do."
For Burke, the goal is to have as many patients go home directly from Burke as possible. "We recognize what caregivers are signing on to do and the commitment they are making," said Alexandrou. "We look at them as essential members of our team that really make a difference."
To learn more about the caregiver services provide at Burke, visit their website.