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The Caregiver Center

The Caregiver Center: You Are Not Alone

Comforting support, resources and services for those who selflessly nurture others during medical crises

Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital believe they haven’t fully cared for patients if they haven’t cared for their caregivers.

The Caregiver Center provides vital, comforting support during times of need, stress and trauma while a loved one is a patient at Westchester Medical Center, flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of WMCHealth.

Being a caregiver is demanding. It can bring constant stress, intense pressure, new demands, financial responsibilities, upheaval from typical routines, compromised health, exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed and a jumble of emotions that include non-stop worry.

The Caregiver Center, on Westchester Medical Center’s Main Concourse, compassionately and resourcefully prioritizes those needs and has helped thousands of families.

The Caregiver Center is a conduit to an array of services that are free. Teams also match caregivers to community resources ready to assist. They help determine the assistance needed, where to find it, and how to request and access it.

Whether it’s folding into a comfortable lounge chair to have a quiet moment between visits with a loved one, or a place to make phone calls and provide important updates to others, the Caregiver Center is designed to become a home away from home.

Caregivers benefit from support. Problem-solving. Services. Understanding. Answers. Rest. Relief. Advice. Peace. Solitude. Fellowship. Rejuvenation. And more.

In short, the Caregiver Center brings personalized attention, empowerment and peace of mind when it is needed most. And its environment is welcoming: It is physically designed to soothe, with healing elements included in its architecture, artwork, design and texture.

A National Need
In 2015, there were about 40 million caregivers in the United States. Many had no choice, or advance notice, that they’d be caring for others. The huge, ongoing need for caregivers, and keeping them fresh during long stretches of medical need, is a national healthcare dilemma.

Half of Westchester Medical Center’s patients are admitted through the Emergency Department. They didn’t plan a hospital stay. Their caregivers, from nearby and around the world, sit vigil during health emergencies and extended recovery periods. Extensive research demonstrates that caregivers often are not adequately prepared to handle the physical and emotional burdens placed on them when a loved one is hospitalized. Unfortunately, this stress sometimes diminishes quality of life of the patient and caregiver for weeks, months or even a lifetime.

The Caregiver Center was conceived to ease such issues, and do so with the utmost dignity and comfort.

“The Caregiver Center has been amazing. We have been accommodated very well… The use of the training room, conference room and meditation room were essential to coping and making many necessary arrangements. We are eternally grateful.”
The Caregiver Center and its dedicated team stand ready to assist in numerous ways:

• Emotional support to help caregivers and families cope and adjust to their loved one’s trauma or illness, such as having a place to relax, and hold informal conversations, benefit from a sympathetic ear, grief management, chaplaincy services, secular counseling and advice.
• Physical support that includes stress-busting therapeutic programs such as yoga, and quiet areas that help caregivers refresh.
• Educational information that aids depth of understanding of medical situations and insurance issues; provides access to legal and financial counsel; assists in mobilizing resources for temporary or permanent disability-related extended home care; and professional help with any transitions needed.
• Lists of the many helpful resources at Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, ranging from information about parking to laundry facilities.
• Connections to community resources including dining options, shopping, banking, auto services and more.

Specific services include:

• Meditation Lounge.
• Learning and Resource Center.
• Educational programs on topics such as managing stress, coping with grief and others.
• Social-worker expertise.
• Consultation Room.
• Computer workstations, WiFi and internet access.
• Shower facilities and toiletries.
• Food coupons.
• Access to religious and spiritual worship and meals.
• Therapies such as meditation, Healing Touch, Yoga, Reiki, massage and aromatherapy.
• Educational programs to cope with trauma and grief.
• Professional services.
• Support groups.
• Bereavement services, resources and tips.
• Notary public.
• Campus and community maps.
• Mass-transit information.
• Afternoon Tea Time.

“Today we’re finally going home… If it weren’t for the staff at the Caregiver Center, I don’t know what I would have done. The whole staff has been amazing and so knowledgeable with tons of responses I would have never known about. Thank you, most of all, for hearing me…”

How to Donate

Because Caregiver Center services are essential components of family care, they are free. While the Caregiver Center aims to meet diverse needs and serve as many people as possible, there is always more it can do.

Philanthropic support is critical for growth. Gifts of all sizes will support caregivers – whether they’re family and friends who care for their loved ones, or medical-team members who work tirelessly. Gifts may be used to supplement staff, fund programs, train volunteers, purchase comfort kits, supplies and refreshments. Regardless of a donation’s size, someone will benefit from that gift of kindness.

For more information, please contact the Westchester Medical Center Foundation at 914.493.2575 or visit

Become a Caregiver Volunteer

The Caregiver Center seeks special volunteers to help provide outreach, supportive services and guidance to people whose lives have been changed due to the health challenges of someone they love. Extensive training is provided.

• Do you have experience as a caregiver?
• Can you dedicate a minimum of four hours per week?
• Do you find it rewarding to help others?

Please call the 24-hour Caregiver Hotline at 914.493.6800 for assistance or information.

Thank you for considering the selfless gift of volunteering.

“Being able to have our own space to clear our thoughts and spend time with our loved ones has been wonderful. Thank you for the consideration and kindness.”
The Caregiver Center has been a helpful, welcomed resource for thousands of families. Here is a sampling of voices from those who have benefited:

“This Caregiver Center has been an absolute godsend to my entire family. I came here for meditation, peace, quiet and to just think. Every hospital should have a Caregiver Center!”

“Thank you so much for being so hospitable. We are extremely grateful that you allowed us to wait in the back room during this hard time. Thank you for the tea and cookies. We appreciate everything that you have done for us.”

“We are so grateful for the kindness and special attention… Your department made us feel so welcomed and your staff was amazing.”

“Just to say thank you very, very much for all the services; you make us feel at home. We are so grateful for the kindness and love. This hospital is really great!”

“Just a note to let you know about the love, humanity and patience shown to us! We are here from Florida for a family emergency and you have been great and cooperative.”

“We like being able to use the Caregiver Center… Having a meditation room and shower have been so useful for multiple reasons. Keep this space open, please. Many more families will benefit from it.”

“Thank you for being so nice and hospitable… This is a great place where friends and family come together and support each other.”

“The Caregiver Center is a lovely respite from the rest of the bustle in the hospital! Peaceful and calm.”

“The Caregiver Center provides a vital service. I needed a calm, quiet space to center myself while my mom was having open-heart surgery. The social worker was nurturing and comforting to me. I deeply appreciate this space... Fantastic staff!”

“The Caregiver Center has provided a calming place to gather. We enjoyed the aromatherapy session and the coloring, as we need a distraction every once in a while. It is truly a wonderful arrangement. Also, we were dealing with our insurance claim and found it extremely useful to be able to print from our email paperwork from the insurance company. Thank you! P.S.: Soothing music definitely is a plus and the cookies were delish!”

“Thank you so much for letting my family and friends have a relaxing place to wait. The people that work here are extremely helpful and kind. The computers have helped me get some work done while also being here to support my family during this tragic time. We really appreciate all of you.”

“Thank goodness for Caregiver Services! Makes all the difference for the families! Thank you!”

“This was an awesome facility. The attendants are so very informative and polite and very respectful. This facility is all about family and patients. Will highly recommend this hospital.”

“It was a pleasure to meet the staff who helped me feel comfortable and at ease while we visited our loved one.”

“Thank you so much for giving me positive energy.”

“We loved the Caregiver Center. The meditation room was beautiful and relaxing. Our whole family sat in the lounge area and a very nice woman explained what was available at the hospital... Thank you for having this facility available.”

“I just received Reiki and it was just what my mind, body and soul needed. It was very relaxing. The Caregiver Center is a blessing.”

“Thank you so much for having a lovely place to be able to come and shower while being so far away from home with my loved one/husband having to stay here.”

“While my husband was having an eight-hour heart surgery, I was told about the Caregiver Center. I cannot express how wonderful this center is. I was able to de-stress and, especially, get the rest I needed to make me strong again. Thank you to all the workers who have made this possible!”

“Thank you so much for your time, your kindness and your caring. You helped us when we needed it most. Like an angel from heaven, you brought comfort and education about hospital inpatient services. The Caregiver Center is wonderful and has been a godsend to our family.”

“Many thanks! You restored serenity to an eerie situation. I wish health and happiness for all who come through these doors and for their loved ones!”

“The Caregiver Center has been amazing! The team has been compassionate and has quickly become an extended family to us. We are comforted, and at the same time, inspired, each time we see them and speak with them. We are very grateful.”

“My mom was in surgery and a very nice volunteer brought us down here. My dad (elderly) had a good rest and everyone working here has been so kind and attentive. A beautiful place to come and rest.”

“This was very helpful. It helped me release a lot of emotions and I actually feel closer to my brother battling with him in this fight for his life. This process was very powerful for me, more powerful than I expected.”

“I feel more relaxed and lighter… clear-minded. I can make decisions easier. This is a wonderful program for families and I am grateful we have these resources during these difficult times.”

“I am the mom of an adult child with special needs. We have spent many a long night in hospitals over the years. This session gave me the energy I need to continue being the best caregiver I can be. Thank you!”

“I am so grateful for the Caregiver Center. My family benefited from the center as my daughter was hospitalized for over a month.”

“Thank you for the use of the meditation room. All four of our family members kept taking turns when we needed to rest. It was a godsend; we were up all night and exhausted.”

“We can’t thank you enough for the use of the Caregiver Center during this trying time. We used the meditation room and computers daily. They were a lifesaver.”

“The use of the spa facilities in the Caregiver Center made me feel alive again. Thank you. The amenities were wonderful and the meditation room let me compose myself before I went up and saw my dad.”

A Weekend at the Westchester Medical Center Caregiver Center

A few days in the life of the Caregiver Center represent a sampling of the diverse services and assistance provided.

Friday evening

• A mother in upstate New York receives the phone call every parent dreads: Her 15-year-old son had been severely injured in a car accident and was being flown to Westchester Medical Center. Here at the Region’s Level I Trauma Center, clinicians gather to provide the highest level of care to the injured teenager.

Saturday morning

• Upon meeting the mother and stepfather of the injured young man, Caregiver Center staff immediately reaches out to arrange temporary housing at Ronald McDonald House, located on the same Valhalla, NY, campus of Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
• Family members of a critical cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit patient from Rhode Island come to the Caregiver Center for a respite. They shower and use the meditation room while staff arranges hotel accommodations.
• Another patient’s distraught father arrives, requiring special support and assistance from Caregiver Center staff.

Saturday afternoon

• As more loved ones gather in support of the young man injured in the car accident, additional hotel accommodations are made by Caregiver Center staff.
• Groups of friends and family members of several trauma patients arrive. Caregiver staff provides information on hotel accommodations and other community resources, including nearby stores, shopping centers and restaurants.
• A patient’s stepfather has brought only one vial of insulin with him. Caregiver Center staff helps connect him to a pharmacy.
• Friends of the young man in the car accident use computers in the Caregiver Center to set up fundraising sites and communicate long-distance with loved ones.

Sunday morning

• Arrangements were made with the Department of Chaplaincy Services for two services to be held in the Westchester Medical Center Chapel.
• Three adult sons of a Neuro Intensive Care Unit patient come to the Caregiver Center for supportive listening after deciding to withdraw care for their critically ill mother.

Sunday afternoon

• The training room opens for several families. Guests relax and watch television.
• The family members of a patient in the Medical Intensive Care Unit shower and relax in the meditation room before receiving assistance in arranging transportation back to Watertown, NY.

“Being able to have our own space to clear our thoughts and spend time with our loved ones has been wonderful. Thank you for the consideration and kindness.”
The Caregiver Center is located on Westchester Medical Center’s Main Concourse, to the right of the main reception desk. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Please call 914.493.6800 for assistance or information. A message can be left on confidential voicemail and the call will be returned during hours of operation.

“We are so grateful for the kindness and special attention… Your department made us feel so welcomed and your staff was amazing.”