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On Cancer: Respite and Relaxation: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Patient Recreation Pavilion

By Media Staff  |  Friday, August 30, 2013

Nestled on the fifteenth floor of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Upper East Side hospital facility, the Patient Recreation Pavilion provides patients and their families with a calming and relaxing environment, free of the sights and sounds of their hospital room and doctor’s office. Designed as a respite from cancer and its treatments, the sun-filled space hosts many group and individual activities, as well as special events and celebrations.

Its indoor and outside areas also offer a comforting escape for those who simply need quiet time to reflect.

“In the midst of the stress and overwhelming life changes a cancer diagnosis brings, many patients find it difficult to relax and enjoy things in life that once brought them peace,” says Yolanda Toth, Director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Patient Recreation Department. “They are so focused on their treatment. We help them to discover or rediscover the things that bring them enjoyment –whether it’s a good mystery novel, an art project, or a game of cards.”

Something for Everyone

During the day, patients and their guests can join recreation therapists leading art projects and other workshops such as copper jewelry enameling, stained glass painting, woodworking, and decoupage. Many patients find creative projects like these to be therapeutic during treatment and long hospital stays, and everyone is encouraged to explore the different offerings and work at their own pace.

On some days, the recreation staff welcomes special guests who bring their talent and interests to the hospital so that others may enjoy it. Popular activities include performances by students from The Juilliard School, music therapy, and celebrity visits. 

About the Space

The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Patient Recreation Pavilion, named in honor of a former member of the board and long-time friend of Memorial Sloan Kettering, opened in 1976. Accessible from the 15th floor of the hospital, the 8,000-plus-square-foot space is connected to the main hospital by a gently sloping ramp that makes it easy for patients to reach even if they are not on foot.

The recreation pavilion also houses a pool table, a baby grand piano, a sitting area where patients can enjoy movies on a big screen, and a library with more than 12,000 general interest books, magazines, and music recordings. An outdoor terrace overlooking the city’s East Side is also accessible from the floor, weather permitting.

Explore our weekly calendar of patient recreation events and other support programs for patients and caregivers.

Comments

As an oncology nurse, I can't tell you how much I love this. Kudos to the MSK staff for using their resources wisely to create the best healing environment for the patients.

As a psychiatrist at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology, in OPorto, Portugal, I find this project absolutely awesome! Congratulations! It's unique. And physically and emotionally healing! Thank you for sharing!

My husband was hospitalized many times at MSKCC and I cannot tell you how comforting it was to spend time in an invironment away from the hospital room.
We made many lovley things including mosaic trivet in various shapes which I still use. Also stuffed animals which my grandchildren loved.
It is run very professionallly. I recomend it highly.

God I remember going down the hall to this room!
During my 12 day stay- it kept me sane.
At times it kept my family sane to to be able to there!
My aunt still has the earrings I made her there. My son who's now 7 has the frog I stuffed & sewed him.... Thinking I would never make it back to him..., here we are 7 years later!! Thanks to Dr Paty!

My friend is thinking about donating his Wii and some games. Would the pediatric department be able to use them?

Courtney, thanks for reaching out. We will speak to someone about this and contact you at the email address you provided if the department needs this type of donation. Happy holidays!

Your patient, Shirley Fischler, just posted an article in the Daily Freeman; the "Big" paper here in the Hudson Valley, Kingston, NY. She is a regular, beloved columnist and is extremely loved and followed by countless numbers around the world. We are all following her health's progression and in todays article she extolled the virtues and extreme value of the Abby Rockefeller Pavilion. So many of us were unaware of this fantastic theraputic environment and Shirley has sent the message, loud and clear! As a Juilliard graduate and former Music Therapy student I related even more to Ms. Fischler's keen observations. I am also a neighbor of hers both in the Catskills and in NYC; she on 110th and I'm on 101st and B'way. I've been reading her faithfully for years and am always impatient for her Saturday/Sunday columns since she is, in so many ways, Mother Earth to us. I, we, love her and am praying for her return to the blessed good health she so deserves. All my Love, dear Shirley, from a devoted follower, always yours, Peter Simmons

We have collected over 150 brand new baseball type caps - some plain, some with sports logos, cities, cartoon characters. Might these be useful to any of your patients (children or adults)? I can deliver them! Please reply to beth.b.lev@gmail.com

Beth, thanks for reaching out. We will speak to someone about this and contact you at the email address you provided about your kind offer. Happy holidays!

That's great. I will look forward to hearing from you after the holidays. Happy New Year!
Beth

I spent 10 days at the hospital and I visited the Patient Recreation Pavilion every day for hours sometimes for specific activity, sometimes just to hang out and play cards or scrabble with my family and when days were nice to catch the sun in the outdoor terrace. It was definitely therapeutic mentally because I did not think about my pain while at the center. Also my family when visiting me used the center for its activities. I would like to commend the hospital for having such a great idea and even more I would like to commend the staff in the recreation center. They are extremely considerate and were always encouraging everyone to try a new activity like water coloring or join in the group fun (casino evening, bingo, Ritz NY pastry chef visit,etc.) . For any future patients, my advice is utilize this facility because it creates such a great positive vibe and beats being in the patient room! Once again thank you very much to the staff at the rec center

asd

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