Burke Rehabilitation Hospital held a special ceremony last Wednesday as officials unveiled the first-ever caregiver center at the White Plains facility.
After Bryan Marsal underwent knee replacement surgery last year, he quickly realized during his stay at the rehab center that while he would soon recover others wouldn’t be so lucky.
“I had some dark days, but it finally dawned on me that I was going to get better,” Marsal said at the May 30 unveiling. “But what I witnessed when I was here was that while I was going to get better, and I knew I was going to get better, I sat around and watched people who were victims of a stroke or amputees. People who had much worse problems than I had, particularly from a standpoint that I was getting better.”
After receiving constant love and patience from his wife, doctors and his own caregiver, Marsal was inspired to donate to the hospital to help those who needed it most.
When someone experiences a life-changing illness or injury, it affects not only the patient, but also their family, friends and support system. With patients often staying longer at Burke to receive the adequate treatment necessary for recovery, the Marsal Caregiver Center will provide a great level of support for the patient’s family.
The 1,657-square-foot facility is a bright, calm and open space equipped with a kitchenette, a conference room, a work area with tables and computers, a private tranquility room and a special space reserved for professional care.
Caregivers too experience the emotional, mental and physical anguish associated with their responsibilities and often display symptoms of depression, stress related disorders or diminished immune responses, hospital officials said.
“Burke is opening the Marsal Caregiver Center to expand the definition of caring beyond our primary patients to the care of their dedicated family members and loved ones,” vice president of patient experience Colleen Borrelli said. “Caring for the caregiving will enhance the recovery of our patients, and help caregivers be in a better physical and mental place, themselves, enabling everyone to adapt to new physical challenges, limitations and demands.”
Carla Assenza will be the director of the new caregiver center and will soon be joined by a team of highly trained volunteers who will undergo training that will focus on active listening and rapport building.
While the facility is the first caregiver center at a rehabilitation hospital in the country, it joins the Montefiore Health System as the fifth caregiver center.
“Having the nation’s first caregiver center in a rehabilitation hospital will enable Burke to strengthen our ability to improve the lives of patients, their families and the community,” Burke president and CEO Jeffrey Menkes said. “Resources like this will help keep Burke at the forefront of rehabilitate care.”