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Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

The happy couple, Edward Guida and Nicole Hartstein-Guida with Nicole’s mom, Jane. Photo from Gurwin Jewish
In a clinical setting, a little room for love

On the 28-bed respiratory care unit at the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack, one might not expect to see twinkle lights, champagne bubbles and a chuppa, but that’s just what the staff and residents saw when Nicole Hartstein and her then fiancé, Edward Guida, surprised Nicole’s mother, Jane Hartstein, with a wedding.

From left, Rabbi David Altman, groom’s mom Mary Guida, Nicole Hartstein-Guida, Edward Guida and Mons. Joseph Calise

Jane, who was completely shocked upon seeing her daughter in her wedding dress, has been on a ventilator for more than three years, living at Gurwin for almost that long after a stroke. “I can’t believe this,” she said when she was wheeled into the decorated family room on the unit. “I’m just so happy, I can’t believe they did this.”

According to Nicole, she and her fiancé wanted her mother to be part of their wedding, but knew she could not make the trip to the New Jersey wedding venue on Sunday, May 26. So instead, they decided to get married at Gurwin prior to their scheduled wedding and reception, officially changing their anniversary, if only for those in the know. 

The “wedding” went on as planned at the West Mount Country Club in Woodland Park, New Jersey (and Jane live-streamed it on her TV at Gurwin), but Nicole and Edward knew that the important ceremony had already taken place.

For that ceremony, Gurwin staff transformed the family room on the respiratory care unit into a wedding chapel, complete with lights, Mr. & Mrs. signs and tulle. And when Jane was wheeled in, she burst into tears, so happy to be able to share in her daughter’s joy.

The happy couple

When Nicole saw her mother’s tears, she had to wipe her own away, as well. “I know you wanted to be at our wedding, so we’re bringing our wedding to you,” she said, hugging her mom before she took her place to walk down the makeshift “aisle” outside the family room.

“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri played and staff and residents watched as Nicole was escorted by her uncle, James Jacobs, into the family room where a small group of her family, including her mom, waited with the priest and rabbi. Nicole beamed as the ceremony made her officially Mrs. Hartstein-Guida.  “This is amazing,” she said.

An eight-year relationship lead up to this point, and Edward knew that his bride-to-be needed her mother to be at her wedding. “I just want Nicole to be happy, and I want her mom to be happy, too. We knew we wanted to do this,” he said.

As the kiss was exchanged and congratulations were expressed, Jane sat watching the festivities. “I can’t believe it,” she said, tearing up. “This is the best gift anyone could ever have given me.”

Photos from Gurwin Jewish

Above, the staff of the Adult Day Health Program at Gurwin Jewish Center. Photo from Gurwin Jewish Center

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center’s Adult Day Health Program was recently named Long Island’s Best in Adult Day Health for 2017 through Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s Best of Long Island competition. The full-day medical model program, which opened its doors in 1989, offers comprehensive medical and social services to frail, elderly and cognitively impaired residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties in a supervised, secure and enriching environment.

“We are honored that Gurwin’s Adult Day Health program has been recognized as the Best on Long Island,” said Herbert H. Friedman, Gurwin’s executive vice president/CEO. “At the core of the Adult Day Health program is our talented multidisciplinary staff whose compassion and dedication is evident in their person centered care and innovative programming. Their attentiveness to each participant’s individualized needs offers families respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving, and peace of mind knowing that their loved one is good hands. We are pleased that our staff and the program have been recognized for the outstanding care they provide for the residents of our local community.”

Up to 133 individuals with varying health and cognitive challenges attend the program daily, which is located on Gurwin’s 67-acre campus within the renowned Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Medical and nursing care, rehabilitation therapy and a wide range of engaging therapeutic activities are offered for those who attend up to six days per week, supporting the physical, social and emotional needs of each participant.

According to Jeraldine Fedoriw, LMSW and Gurwin Adult Day Health Program director, “Socialization and structure in a secure environment are key to helping those with physical and cognitive disabilities flourish. From the moment our buses pick them up in the morning, to the time they return home in the afternoon, our registrants are kept busy and engaged. Starting with a well-balanced breakfast, the day is fun-filled with hands-on activities such as painting, crafts, exercise, music and dancing. It is a stimulating day that gives our members a sense of belonging and oftentimes a renewed sense of purpose.”

In addition to a full calendar of events and assistance with activities of daily living, Gurwin’s program offers access to its in-house clinic which provides a full array of health services including dental, ophthalmology, audiology and other specialty services. Other on-site amenities include access to the facility’s professional barber and beauty parlor and well-stocked gift shop for light shopping needs.

“At the Gurwin Adult Day Health Program, our staff is proud to make a difference in the lives of those who attend our program each day,” Fedoriw adds. “I’m delighted for our staff that we’ve been named the Best on Long Island — it’s a well-deserved honor.”