MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Taking care of a sick loved one can be an emotional and physically demanding job, especially around the holidays. However, thanks to the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center at Northern Westchester Hospital, family and friends are able to receive the support and strength needed to carry out the demands of family caregiver, particularly during the holidays.
The Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center was designed as a private sanctuary with extensive resources that assist the family caregiver in managing the myriad details and tasks, and mitigate the personal toll of providing care for their loved ones. It was created by Marian Hamilton following her experience caring for her husband during his battle with lung cancer. Coping with the stress of being mother, wife and caregiver until the very end of her husband's life, Hamilton decided she wanted to help others in similar situations. Inspired, she sought to create an oasis where caregivers could seek emotional support and find pragmatic resources during similarly difficult times.
“We make connections with families so that they do not feel isolated, we provide an extra set of ears during meetings with the medical team, we provide information on healthcare proxies and living wills, we help caregivers speak to children about illness, and we provide family meetings to help with care plans,” says Hamilton.
The Center, which is located in the main lobby of the Hospital, features a caregivers support program, a team of trained caregiver coaches and a comfortable place to rest. The Caregivers Center is staffed by a full-time social worker and volunteer caregiver coaches who are trained to assist caregivers in managing the stress and issues that arise day-to-day.
"You see how family members visibly relax when they walk into the environment," said Maria Hale, Vice President of Patient Advocacy at Northern Westchester Hospital. Research from the National Family Caregivers Alliance shows that family caregivers often suffer from poor health as a result of their roles, and up to 50 report feeling depressed. "If they can't take care of themselves, they can't be an effective caregiver for their loved one," said Hale.
The Center's services are provided to all family caregivers involved, regardless of where a patient is receiving care.
Hear the story of the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center in the video above.
Visit the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center's website to learn more.