Healing Touch Provides Support to Caregivers at Westchester Medical Center’s Caregiver Center
By Betty Feldman, HTCP
Healing Touch is a popular choice among complementary modalities offered for relief and support to caregivers at Westchester Medical Center’s Caregiver Center in Valhalla, NY. If you live in the area, and have a Level 3 HTP certificate, or above, please join our volunteer team.
A Caregiver Program is a central part of services provided by Westchester Medical Center. Now in its 100th year, WMC is the Hudson Valley Region’s Level 1 Trauma/advanced and specialty medical care referral hospital. The hospital towers 7 floors into the sky and houses multiple ICU’s and units of step down care. Nearby are the new Ambulatory Care Center, the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a Behavioral Health Center, a Rehabilitation Center, and the Westchester Medical College. It serves eight surrounding counties, Fairfield County in CT, and parts of New York City. Emergency and trauma patients are often transported to the hospital by helicopter. Families travel great distances, up to 300 miles round trip, and sometimes gather from all over the world to sit vigil during emergency extended surgeries and extended recovery periods. In addition to family caregivers, the Caregiver Program serves the needs of hospital staff and employees.
Under the direction of Patricia Boyce, the Caregiver Program provides numerous programs which help relax, restore, connect, empower, educate, and serve clients. During 2014, more than 2,300 people received assistance through the Caregiver Program. In November, 2016, the reconstruction of the main lobby area created the new 1,800-square-foot Caregiver Center. Designed to provide a retreat for family, as well as clinical staff, this space is where emotional and physical support is on hand for all who need it. As with the current program, advocacy services, social work, and chaplaincy services continue to be provided. The new state-of-the-art respite, designed as a space which incorporates the healing elements of art, design, and texture, offers access to the most up-to-date information resources, including computer access, wireless and mobile device charging stations, and information on area resources. Refreshments are available as well as amenities such as showers, private rest stations, and meditation rooms. Therapies such as Healing Touch, Yoga, Reiki, Massage, and Aromatherapy are offered.
Also available are educational programs to help caregivers and families cope with, and adjust to, their loved one’s trauma or illness. They also offer professional help with any transitions that may be needed. Whether it is folding into a comfortable lounge chair to have a quiet moment, or utilizing the services available, the Caregiver Center is designed to become a home away from home, when comfort and compassion are needed most.
In August of 2016, Ms. Boyce requested that I bring Healing Touch to the Caregiver Center as a complementary modality. The Healing Touch team began working in the Center at its opening in November, 2016. Assistance was provided by Beth Wright, HTCP/I, in recruiting practitioners. She notified former HT students in the area of our plan. The current Healing Touch team is Betty Feldman, HTCP; Virginia Bartlett-Parsons, HTCP, who has provided the most sessions to date at the Center; Dr. Annecy Baez, Level 3 Student, who provides support for the team in Trauma Release; and Linda Ahern, a Reiki Master at the Center who has travelled twice to Amsterdam, NY to take Levels 1 and 2 Healing Touch classes with Sister Rita Jean Dubrey. We welcome anyone who holds a Level 3 HTP certificate, or above to join our volunteer team.