A debilitating disease or injury has a ripple effect, impacting not only the patient but his or her family, friends and support system. Primary caregivers are often not prepared for the stress and mental strain that comes from a new set of responsibilities.

"Caring for the caregiver will enhance the recovery of our patients."
Burke VP Colleen Borrelli

The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital's newly opened Marsal Caregiver Center offers resources and support for primary caregivers. The center, which opened Wednesday, May 30 in White Plains, is the first caregiver space in a rehabilitation hospital in the country.

"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 in a press release issued by the hospital.

Courtesy Burke Rehabilitation Hospital

The average inpatient stay at Burke is about 18 days, which is about two weeks longer than the average stay at an acute care hospital. The 1,657-square-foot Marsal Caregiver Center provides unique support for caregivers during a stressful time for the family. Studies have found caregivers have diminished immune responses due to stress and up to 70 percent of caregivers have symptoms of depression, according to the hospital's press release

"Caring for the caregiver 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," Borrelli said.