Inspired partnership brings healing respite to patients and families
For Alice and Herbert Sachs, it is personal. It was their experience during the illness of a loved one that inspired their desire to collaborate with MossRehab at Elkins Park to construct The Alice and Herbert SachsTherapeutic Conservatory for the benefit of patients and their families.
Their dream has become a reality. Now, MossRehab has a dedicated space to grow its horticultural therapy program allowing more patients to meet theirrehabilitation goals by combining therapy with gardening. The Conservatoryalso offers a beautiful, unexpected oasis for patients and their families.
Inspiration for this project began when Alice and Herb were visiting his brother Keith, while he was recovering from an illness at Rusk Rehab at NYU Langone Medical Center. During their many visits they spent time at Rusk’s therapeutic conservatory. “It was such a wonderful sanctuary and respite,” recalls Alice Sachs. "It was a place where patients and their families could remove themselves from the hospital setting and just relax."
So struck by the importance of the conservatory in the ongoing healing process, the Sachs’ were determined to try and replicate the therapeutic and communal advantages to benefit patients in their own community. Once introduced to MossRehab, the Sachs’ immediately found a place where their vision was embraced.The collaborative relationship has resulted in the construction of an operational greenhouse and therapy center allowing patients and their families to share in new therapeutic activities contributing to an overall sense of well-being.
“Alice and Herb presented us with a unique and wonderful opportunity to do something to enhance the patient care experience,” explains Ruth Lefton, Chief Operating Officer at MossRehab. “They have been the heart and soul of this project and we are grateful they chose us to help make their dream a reality.”
The high-tech conservatory has three distinct areas (Work, Grow, Show) combining to form a warm, yet functional, environment. Features of the conservatory include those found in modern, commercial greenhouses with many “green” components including: a living wall; stones from the WissahickonCreek; finished concrete; natural cedar trim; a calming water feature and day lighting.
MossRehab recently hired a full-time horticultural therapist to implement programming within the conservatory. Abby Jaroslow, HTR, Horticultural Therapist, is working to expand the horticultural therapy program, engage patients in the program and fully functionalize the Work and Grow spaces in the conservatory. Results of the patient participation will be displayed in the Show area.
It is the vision of donors like the Sachs’ that helps inspire and enhance programming. Patients and families will benefit from their contribution for years to come.
“Our experience put into perspective how important it is to make a difference in the lives of others when you have the opportunity,” says Herb Sachs. “We want to feel we have helped in the long-term. The partnership with MossRehab has allowed us to seize the moment and, we hope, have a positive impact on the patients, families and communities they serve.”
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