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Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

'One Dog, Two Bites' by Robert V. Guido, last year's grand prize winner in the Children's category. Photo courtesy of Gurwin

Calling all photographers! Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is now accepting applications for its 31st annual Photo Contest.

Amateur photographers and students are invited to submit their best photos for a chance to win a recognition award and cash prizes and the opportunity to have their work permanently displayed in the Center’s renowned Tiffen Gallery for the enjoyment of residents, staff and visitors. 

The Contest garners nearly 1000 submissions each year from across the globe which are judged by a panel of professional photographers for clarity, composition, subject matter and suitability for display at the nursing and rehabilitation center.

Grand Prize, Honorable Mentions, as well as a Best-in-Show winner will be awarded in 12 categories: Landscapes, Travel, People, Pets, Children, Wildlife, Nature, Still Life, Student, Altered/Enhanced, Long Island/ New York and Action/ Sports. Gurwin residents and staff also weigh-in on their favorites for a “Resident/ Staff Selection” winner.  

Photos chosen by the judges are enlarged to 20×28 prints, beautifully framed and displayed in Gurwin’s 460-bed nursing and rehabilitation center. 

“Each year we are so very impressed by the incredible work submitted and grateful for the support shown to our Center, and in turn, the residents in our care,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gurwin Healthcare System.

Entry forms are available for download at bit.ly/GurwinPhotoContest or via email at [email protected]. Contestants may submit up to seven printed black and white or color  8” x 10” or 8” x 12’ photographs at a nominal fee of $5 per entry. Deadline for submissions is April 15. Winners are revealed at an awards presentation ceremony in early summer. 

For more information, call the Gurwin Corporate Communications office at 631- 715-2562 or 631-715-2569.

Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Commack has been recognized on Newsweek Magazine’s list of America’s Best Nursing Homes 2024, securing a top 15 spot on the list of Best Nursing Homes in New York 2024.

Compiled in partnership with global data research firm Statista, Newsweek’s annual ranking evaluates skilled nursing providers throughout the United States.  Data used to determine the best nursing homes is culled from five sources, including Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services performance data, peer survey data, management of COVID-19, as well as accreditation and resident satisfaction data from The Joint Commission and Commission.

“We are extremely proud of our continued recognition on Newsweek’s top nursing home list,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “To be acknowledged once again for providing the highest quality healthcare services is a testament of the hard work and dedication of our entire team, and the compassionate, person-centered care they provide to all those who turn to Gurwin in their time of need.” For more information, visit www.gurwin.org.

Photo from Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center brought the magic of the MACY*S Thanksgiving Parade to the heart of their nursing home community with their third annual Gurwin Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Our Gurwin Thanksgiving Parade has become a new tradition that is beloved by our residents, staff and visitors” said Kathleen Biggs, Assistant Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Gurwin. “We are so pleased to be able to bring the magic of the holiday season to our residents and to share this special time with them.”

Gurwin’s creative Therapeutic Recreation staff turned 18 medical carts into brightly colored “floats” decorated in themes including Garfield, Spiderman and Mickey Mouse, akin to the iconic balloon floats from the MACY*S parade. The base of each float was created in five hours while all balloons seen on the floats took four hours to be inflated. Guided by 10 handlers in Thanksgiving-themed attire, the homemade floats wound their way along the parade route, through vestibules and hallways, their twinkling lights shining for the nearly 400 short- and long-term residents currently living at Gurwin.

The parade was led by four-year-old Lily, daughter of Nicole Hopper, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Gurwin, and Dr. Frank Hansen and the Commack High School Jazz Messengers Band, who provided live music for Gurwin residents to get in the holiday spirit.

“The Gurwin Thanksgiving Parade is a wonderful kickoff to the holiday season,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “We are so thankful to our talented and compassionate staff who work tirelessly to support the physical and emotional needs of our residents. Our unique parade creates a holiday buzz throughout the Gurwin community; it has become a much-anticipated event by all.”


Above, 100+ year-old Gurwin nursing home residents welcome Disney to the Gurwin Centenarians Club with official certificate.Photo by Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

More than 300 residents and staff of Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack recently celebrated a century of Disney’s rich history of magic and storytelling with a 100-year jubilee commemorating both the milestone anniversary as well as Gurwin centenarians who inducted Disney into the “Gurwin Centenarian Club. ”

“We are so excited that our residents are able to celebrate Disney’s 100th birthday as if they were actually at Disney themselves,” said Nicole Hopper, CTRS, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Gurwin Center. “Since our residents are unable to travel to Disney, we decided to bring the magic of Disney to them.”

Gurwin Assisted Living Residents “Visit” Epcot in Celebration of Disney’s 100th Anniversary. Photo from Gurwin Jewish~ Fay J. Lindner Residences

The essence of Magic Kingdom was experienced by all who stepped into the Center’s Simon Rainbow Room’s “100 Years of Wonder” event. Created by Gurwin staff dressed as Mouseketeers and other memorable Disney characters, the spectacular celebration was filled with Disney-themed memorabilia and activities, such as a Magic Kingdom photo booth, meet-and-greet characters and a caricature artist who sketched portraits of the residents and staff. 

Gurwin residents enjoyed viewing Disney classics on the big screen, a learn-to-draw Mickey Mouse art station, and decadent Disney theme-park desserts such as churros, soft pretzels and the iconic Disney waffles. The celebration ended in true Disney fashion with the famous “Happily Ever After” firework show displayed on the big screen, much to the delight of residents, family members and staff.

The highlight: a ceremonial induction of Disney into Gurwin’s Centenarian Club.  Residents Genevieve Fedele, 103, and soon-to-be 100-year-old Esther Halfon, presented an honorary certificate to Disney as the club’s newest member, offering sage words of advice:  “Keep making magic!”

In addition to the celebration at the Gurwin Center, residents of Gurwin’s Assisted Living community, Fountaingate Gardens Independent Living Community and Island Nursing and Rehab Center in Holtsville, also a member of the Gurwin Healthcare System, participated in Epcot-themed celebrations and special Disney magic.

“Our staff across the System poured their hearts into creating enchanting events for all of our residents,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It was a wonderful day of nostalgic festivities, with the icing on the cake being our 100+ year-old residents welcoming Disney into the Gurwin Centenarians Club.  We are so fortunate to have such a talented and caring team that creates such amazing experiences for our residents, their families and our staff members as well.”

Above, 2021 Grand Prize winner 'Inside Out' by Deborah Jahier, a photograph of the Vessel at Hudson Yards in New York City. Photo from Gurwin Jewish

Calling all photographers! Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack is now accepting submissions for its 29th annual photo contest. 

Amateur photographers, including students, are invited to submit their best photos for a chance to win a recognition award and cash prizes and the opportunity to have their work permanently displayed in the Center’s renowned Tiffin Gallery for the enjoyment of residents, staff and visitors. 

Nearly 1000 submissions are received each year from across the globe and are judged by a panel of professional photographers who choose the winners based on clarity, composition, subject matter and suitability for display at the Center.

Grand Prize, Honorable Mentions, as well as a Best-in-Show winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, in each of 12 categories: Landscapes, Travel, People, Pets, Children, Wildlife, Nature, Still Life, Student, Altered/Enhanced, Long Island/New York and Action/Sports. 

Gurwin residents and staff will also weigh-in on their favorites, choosing several “Resident/ Staff Selections” from among the entries.

The Gurwin Photo Contest is made possible each year by long-time sponsor The Tiffen Company, in memory of Helen and Nat Tiffen, the company’s founder and former Gurwin resident. Based in Hauppauge, The Tiffen Company is a leading manufacturer of glass filters and other fine products for digital, still, video, motion pictures and television.

Photographers may submit up to seven photographs — color or black and white — at a fee of $5 per photo. Contestants should send their 8”x 10” or 8”x 12” printed photos along with a check payable to Gurwin to 68 Hauppauge Rd., Commack, NY 11725, attention: Gurwin Photo Contest. Deadline for submissions is June 15, 2022. 

Photos not selected for an award are repurposed as reminiscence aids, visual stimulation and art therapy, providing a source of comfort and inspiration, specifically for residents in the Center’s Memory Care Unit and Adult Day Care Programs, making each photo submission a “winner.”

Entry forms are available for download online at www.gurwin.org/about/photo-contest or by calling the Gurwin Public Relations office at 631-715-2757.

GAL resident Harry Cohen receives first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Residents and staff at Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community, part of the Gurwin Healthcare System in Commack, received their first dose of the two-dose BioNTech Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 this week.

Walgreens, Gurwin’s pharmacy partner in providing the COVID-19 vaccine, had a number of pharmacists on hand to administer more than 200 doses of the vaccine on Monday at the assisted living community, and are scheduled for two additional clinics to complete the vaccination and allow others who may have missed the first clinic to receive it.

Residents and staff at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, the Healthcare System’s 460-bed skilled nursing facility, received their first dose of the vaccine in December. Visiting has been restricted at all assisted living and long-term care facilities since March, when the COVID-19 crisis began, and is dependent on new cases of COVID-19 among staff and residents. The vaccine is seen as a ray of hope in fully reuniting families and returning to typical activities for residents.

“Our staff has done an amazing job in keeping our residents engaged and well,” said Michael Letter, Administrator/COO of the assisted living community. “Even though we’ve been able to have modified visiting sporadically, the vaccine is the first real step in being able to return to normalcy, and we are thankful to have been prioritized to receive the vaccine.” More than 50% of Gurwin’s assisted living community staff, and all but one resident, will have been vaccinated after the second clinic, set for February 8.

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack turned into a festival of lights Dec. 14 and Dec. 15.

At its Commack Road location, the center hosted its first Festival of Lights drive-through event that included thousands of blue, gold and white lights arranged in a variety of scenes as well as inflatable menorahs, dreidels and more displayed.

Visitors had the opportunity to drive through and the lights free of charge. The event also gave spectators the opportunity to donate unwrapped gifts, including puzzle books and pens, fuzzy holiday socks and other personal gifts, for the nursing home residents.

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.”