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PBMC plans to open center for caregivers next year

In response to community members, Peconic Bay Medical Center will open a new Caregivers Center within the hospital next year.

Tara Anglim, associate director of the hospital’s palliative care program, is leading the expansion. The new facility will be dedicated to caregivers and their specific needs. There is no definite location, but Ms. Anglim said the center will be somewhere central in the hospital so everyone in the community can benefit from it.

“PBMC has been supporting caregivers in the community and we have been listening to them and hearing what some of their problems and situations are,” Ms. Anglim said.

PBMC already has a caregivers program and held its annual caregivers expo in November. Support groups and self-care opportunities are also available at the hospital. The support group was the first of its kind on the East End, when it started three years ago, although others have since popped up on the North and South forks.

Ms. Anglim held focus groups and surveyed caregivers to learn what they needed the most. Information was also gathered from PBMC’s patient family advisory committee. Her research revealed three major areas of need: support, resources and education.

“We’re very happy that there are now many more support groups, which is a great thing, but even with those added support groups there’s such a need for more support for caregivers,” she said.

The center will also educate people on resources in the area, such as transportation.

“The East End of Long Island is so beautiful, but it has a couple of challenges, specifically for caregivers,” Ms. Anglim said. “There’s a lack of transportation here and resources tend to be set to the fork that they are on.”

The program and the center will aim at more education.

“Caregivers often feel like they are thrown into the role of caregiving when they’re not prepared for that,” Ms. Anglim said.

Some educational points involve practical tasks, like how to safely move someone from a car into a wheelchair. Others had more involved concerns, such as questions about applying for benefits.

“The caregivers themselves are the reason the program is expanding and moving to more a formal-type center,” Ms. Anglim said.

The center is expected to open sometime in 2018, but no official date has been set. It will be staffed with volunteer caregiver coaches, who will begin to train in February. Many of these people have been caregivers themselves in the past. They will be available to people who feel the need to take a break and talk to someone about their roles and their challenges.

PBMC’s program is modeled after one that has been in place for 10 years at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco.

“The program will have a home once the center is there, but the program itself will be live and running throughout this year,” Ms. Anglim said.

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Photo caption: Within the next year Peconic Bay Medical Center will establish a new caregivers center to provide support for those who take care of loved ones. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file photo)