With a champagne reception, MJHS welcomed supporters, staff and the community Aug. 7 for a tour of the health systems new hospice residence on Webb Avenue in the Bronx.
The Muriel and Harold Block Residence, a 16-suite hospice that offers round-the-clock care in a homelike setting, is located on the grounds of Jewish Home Lifecare.
Administrators from both Jewish Home Lifecare and MJHS spoke of the collaborative efforts of both organizations to bring the facility to fruition.
“MJHS has provided exceptional hospice care to the residents of Jewish Home and they will continue to do so by offering compassionate medical care in a home-like setting,” said Audrey Weiner, president and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare.The Lissner Therapeutic Spa includes a massage table and whirlpool bath.
Barbara Hiney, RN, PHPN, executive vice president of MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care, thanked MJHSs senior leadership, including Susan Caputo, RN, BSN, MPA, president, home and continuing care and NY/NJ regional board member for Nurse.com, for their support and belief in “a $2.5 million investment in people, patients, families and the specialized care we deliver through our core values.”
The Muriel and Harold Block Residence consists of 16 suites that are approximately 400 square feet and include amenities such flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and WiFi. Each suite includes views of New York City and the Bronx, and the four-corner suites also have balconies and separate kitchenettes. Two of the suites are ADA compliant.
The walls are painted in soothing colors and the decor includes a small water feature at the entrance.
“We wanted it to be warm and welcoming, with a calming influence,” said Ellyn Ward, RN, manager of the residence. “Together, our director, Phyllis Erlbaum-Zur, and the architect were looking for a spa-like environment where patients would be comfortable in a skilled environment where someone could take care of their needs carefully and compassionately.”The Fox Family Library, donated by the father of MJHS APN Debra Fox, RN, will be equipped will computers that will allow residents to Skype with family members.
Residents have access to an onsite spa where they receive therapy and can relax in the whirlpool tub. A stained glass mosaic graces the ceiling above the therapy table so residents will have a calming focal point when receiving services.
The residence also has many amenities that will allow families to visit with their loved ones for as long as they like, even overnight. Suites have pull-out couches and there is a family dining room and lounge. There is laundry service, but there also are laundry facilities onsite for families or residents.
Most of the employees work there because they feel its an honor to serve people at the end of life, according to Ward.
“They have that built into their personalities,” she said. “Residents will know that theyre being cared for, whatever the need.”
The Fox Family Library holds special significance for one MJHS nurse. The space was a gift from the late Bernard Fox, who died in January. Fox is the father of Debra Fox, RN, MS, FNP-BC, CHPN, a family NP with MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care.The residence includes special rooms for families, including a family dining room, shown here, and a lounge area.
Fox said her father always was extremely philanthropic. One day she mentioned to him that she was attending a fundraiser for another MJHS residence, the Menorah Home.
“The week after, I was up in Connecticut visiting him and he asked what he needed to do to make a donation and to put him in touch with whomever he needed to speak with, ” she said. “What I remember about my father was his ability to give and to do it in a way that it wouldnt take anything away. That was my dad.”
The completed space is just what her father would have wanted it to be, she said.
“I think he would agree its warm and welcoming,” Fox said.
One side of the residence faces Riverdale and the other faces the Bronx. “The library happens to be Bronx side,” Fox said, “which is fitting because thats where my dad grew up.”Many community leaders, including New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrero, attended the opening, offering their congratulations through proclamations and citations.
The library also will include computers with Skype capabilities so residents can see and hear their loved ones whenever they want.
Fox said what her father made possible has really hit home.
“That people would be able to benefit from this, that he made it possible became very real when I saw the plaque on the wall,” she said.
The Block residence is scheduled to begin receiving residents in late September/early October. It is just one of the newly planned hospice residences in the works for MJHS. A groundbreaking took place Sept. 4 in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, for another such residence that will include pediatric hospice services. •
Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.
SEE A PHOTO GALLERY of the MJHS Muriel and Harold Block Residence at Nurse.com/NYNJ.