February 20, 2014
Six things caregivers can do while visiting MD Anderson
BY Kellie Bramlet
Like cancer patients, caregivers are subject to stress throughout their loved ones' cancer treatments. Taking time to participate in a stress-relieving activity may help ease anxiety, especially if you're traveling to MD Anderson from out of town or staying at the hospital for an extended time period.
We offer a variety of programs and services especially for our caregivers. Here are six things caregivers can do while at MD Anderson:
Visit the chapels: For many caregivers, helping a loved one through their cancer journey is a test of faith. The Freeman-Dunn Chapel in the Main Building, the Muslim Prayer Room in the Main Building, the Louise J. Morgan Chapel in the Lowry and Peggy Mays Clinic are open to anyone of any faith who needs time to pray or meditate.
Enjoy the greenery and scenery: Our parks, gardens and green spaces are designed to promote healing. Favorite "escapes" locations around campus include:
- Main Building, outside -- Stroll through the Dorothy H. Hudson Memorial Garden in front of the main hospital entrance for a visual treat of color and texture and more than 500 roses.
- Main Building, Floor 3 -- Pull up a chair inside and gaze across the Dorothy H. Hudson Garden from the air-conditioned comfort by the Gazebo landmark.
- Main Building, Observation Deck -- This area features tables, sofas, desks, a grand piano and great views of the Texas Medical Center and downtown Houston.
- Rotary House International -- Visit the Well of Life and surrounding grounds and enjoy peaceand quiet in the shade.
- Mays Clinic, Floor 2 -- Many secluded patios offer seating, greenery and respite.
- Mays Clinic, Floor 8 -- Visit three Texas-themed gardens, each representing a different geographic region of the state.
Take a class: Our Integrative Medicine Center offers group classes in both the Main Building and the Mays Clinic. Classes include yoga and meditation, or focus on other cancer-related issues. These classes are an opportunity to meet other caregivers and learn something new. If you're feeling stressed or worried, try scheduling an appointment for acupuncture or a massage.
Visit a support group: Being a caregiver can be isolating at times. But finding support in relating to your fellow caregivers may help. MD Anderson offers onsite and online support groups for caregivers. The Anderson Network Hospitality Centers in the Main Building and the Mays Clinic offer coffee, juice, understanding and fellowship.
Donate blood and platelets: Our patients require approximately 200 units of red blood cells and 600 units of platelets every day. Donating blood and platelets is a simpleand relatively quick process that caregivers can participate in while their loved ones are resting. Visiting the MD Anderson Blood Bank and giving blood doesn't just provide cancer patients with a necessary resource; it gives them hope and provides them with support. By donating blood you'll let our patients know you care.
Learn more: Often, patients are focused on feeling better and fighting cancer, which can mean the caregivers must be the ones with all the information. But researching on your own may be daunting. The Learning Center, our free consumer health library located in the Main Building, the Rotary House and the Mays Clinic, offers current and reliable information about health, cancer and cancer prevention. In addition, if you're looking for something entertaining, the Patient/FamilyLibrary in the Main Building provides books, magazines, newspapers, puzzles, audio books and CD players.
For more information on services for caregivers, visit the MD Anderson Concierge and Information desks located throughout our hospital and clinics or talk to a social worker. Or, download the MD Anderson Mobile app for Apple or Android phones and tablets.