Miami Jewish Health Systems Advances Memory Care Village

Miami Jewish Health Systems sees its garage taking shape during phase one of constructing its S. Donald Sussman Empathicare Village. Phase one is to be completed by the summer and lead to construction for another year and six months of the residences and programming centers for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The S. Donald Sussman Empathicare Village is expanding Miami Jewish Health Systems’ footprint. The nonprofit offers a 438-bed nursing facility, 95 units for living space, another building for 81 assisted living units, a memory care facility with 19 spaces, and an acute care hospital with 32 beds.

The S. Donald Sussman Empathicare Village will offer a memory care facility licensed to host assisted living units, a nursing center, and a range of amenities, including an arts theater, café, creative arts program studio, community spaces, fitness center and garden. Florida is in the process of designating the site as an official memory center.

The village sits between Northeast 53rd Street, Northeast Second Avenue, Northeast 50th Terrace, Northeast Miami Place, Northeast 52nd Street and North Miami Avenue. The team plans to partner with artists in Wynwood and the Haitian community near its site.

“One important factor is that it will have residences there for people to live but it will also will have programming and unique centers for people to come from the community to participate,” said Marc E. Agronin, senior vice president for behavioral health and chief medical officer for the Miami Jewish Health Systems Memory and Research Center. “It is meant to create a world for individuals and their families with dementia.”

Dr. Agronin is part of the development team for the project, alongside the organization’s board members and CEO Jeffrey P. Freimark.

Miami Jewish Health Systems plans to hire from the local community and train staff on empathic care.

Dr. Agronin says the focus on empathy-based care or EmpathiCare will set the project apart from other similar communities: “In order to help someone you have to have a deep understanding of what they are going through. That is where empathy comes in. All roads lead to that understanding, because whether you are trying to make a diagnosis, trying to pick the best research study, counsel a family member who is feeling a lot of stress, everything comes down to, not just your scientific understanding of the disease’s state, but an understanding of the person behind the disease.”

The approach to empathy-based care stems from Dr. Agronin’s 20 years in the Miami Jewish Health System and writing several books on aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

The current phase focuses on completing the garage. Workers are constructing the parking ramp. The garage is expected be completed by summer and offer 300 parking spaces.

The process of bringing the remaining parts of the village to life will occur in the next year and a half, says Dr. Agronin.

Half of the $50 million capital campaign goal has been raised for the project. Miami Jewish Health Systems continues to search for more donations.

The S. Donald Sussman Empathicare Village is entering the market when the public needs it the most, says Dr. Agronin. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are growing more common in Florida due to a larger aging population as well as these diseases being related to age.

He encourages folks with memory concerns, regardless if mild or severe, to contact the research hotline at (305) 514-8503.


Source: Miami Today

Miami Jewish Health System Pushes Vast Expansion

Miami Jewish Health Systems is moving ahead with its major expansion plans and has earned preliminary approval from city commissioners.
Phase I is set to begin next year and include construction of a cutting-edge memory care facility to be called Empathicare Village, a substantial addition to the medical campus in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
The health system has been operating from 5200 NE Second Ave. since the 1940s, and the updated master plan is for the next 30 years and beyond.
The city commission recently voted favorably on four items tied to the expansion, including a street closure, land use changes, zoning changes, and an amended development agreement with the City of Miami.
The street closure was approved, and the other three items passed on a first reading with a final vote yet to come.
The first item allows the health system to close part of Northeast First Avenue (Northeast Miami Place) and Northeast 52nd Terrace within the Miami Jewish Health Systems’ properties, and seven easements also within the medical campus site.
Outgoing Commissioner Frank Carollo got a promise from the health system to hire a good portion of employees from Miami, for both temporary construction jobs and long-term staff positions.
Some of those details are to be fine-tuned before the final votes.
The expansion plan is to unfold in several phases, and Mr. Carollo said he wanted to make sure there are requirements to hire local residents for each phase and to have a third party regularly audit those employment numbers and report compliance to the city.
Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon noted that Miami Jewish Health Systems is proud of providing long-term jobs to locals.

“I’ve seen it. Thank you for that,” said Mr. Hardemon, whose District Five includes Little Haiti.

In a letter about the expansion, attorney Iris Escarra on behalf of the health system speaks of the impact of jobs the redevelopment will bring to the community.
The increase in capacity will allow the health system “to provide more jobs, and to better serve the community through new programs and more room for patients.”
She said an economic study shows the average development construction phase employment will be for about 1,174 employees, and the project management is expected to employ eight people for ongoing oversight of the site and marketing during the development phase.
The expansion will also lead to an increase in recurring jobs totaling 170 employees throughout the multiple-phase project.

“Development jobs will range from construction to truck transportation and marketing research, and operation jobs will include hotel and hospital workers,” Ms. Escarra wrote.

The health system’s expansion plans are included in a requested Special Area Plan.
The city’s zoning code, Miami 21, says the purpose of a Special Area Plan is to allow parcels of 9 abutting acres or more to be master planned to allow greater integration of public improvements and infrastructure, and “greater flexibility so as to result in higher or specialized quality building and Streetscape design.”
The medical campus of about 20 acres provides 24-hour-a-day services for its patients, including on-site hospital and ambulatory health clinic, specialized centers for biofeedback, mental health, rehabilitation, and memory centers, and assisted living facilities.
Miami Jewish Health Systems currently provides 104 assisted living facilities with the proposed addition of 99 beds, for a total of 203 assisted living facility beds.
The nonprofit senior health care provider has hired c.c. hodgson architectural group to design the new master plan for its property, border by Northeast 53rd Street, Northeast Second Avenue, Northeast 50th Terrace, Northeast Miami Place, Northeast 52nd Street and North Miami Avenue.
The architectural firm specializes in wellness-based design services.
The overall master plan shows the construction of 11 buildings and facilities, improvements to more than a half dozen existing structures, and demolition of five buildings and one pavilion.
A significant aspect of the master plan is consolidating parking into new multi-level garages, freeing old surface parking lots for new buildings and expanded open space.
In her letter, Ms. Escarra says the proposed Special Area Plan will enable the health provider to expand its impact on the community by providing the Empathicare Village, an institute to promote research, and lodging for visiting researchers and families.
The Empathicare Village includes a 142,708-square-foot, three-story facility and a 135,576-square-foot, three-story garage accented by murals from local artists.
Ms. Escarra wrote that the Special Area Plan was designed to:
• Promoting a neighborhood/campus for short- and long-term patients and their families.
• In addition to on-site green space provided for residents, patients and families, provides more than an acre of civic space for the public.
• Introduce the Empathicare Village, along the western portion of the campus, to meet the needs of an aging community.
• Revitalize the neighborhood through design and innovation, along with providing needed support for the community’s healthcare needs.
• Utilize sustainable technology and strategic initiatives and concepts.
The complete build-out of the master plan is to include a hotel and conference center.

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