The Hebrew Home of Greater Washington Sunday dedicated its Smith-Kogod Building, a 286-bed, $13 million facility built with private contributions from the community. The addition more than doubles the nursing home's size.
"In America's current economic reappraisal, where it is critically important to distinguish between the need for services and the need for government-funded services, the completion of this fine building stands out as a model for communities across the country," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Richard Schweiker. He spoke at a dedication ceremony attended by about 800 people.
The four-story building features several large, glass-walled living room activity centers designed for the care of severely confused people.The glass walls let nurses monitor the activities of patients in the communal rooms and corridors.
The addition has fully equipped rooms for physical and occupational therapy, medical examining rooms, offices, dental clinic, kitchen, chapel, library, barber and beauty shop, soda shop and social hall that can seat about 300 people.
The addition is named for the families of Charles E. Smith, Robert H. Smith and Robert P. Kogod, who were major donors in the fund-raising drive. The drive was conducted by the Greater Washington Jewish Community Foundation on behalf of the Hebrew Home.
Joseph Gildenhorn was chairman of the building committee. Melvin Estrin was chairman of the interior design committee. Fund-raising co-chairmen were Alma Gildenhorn and Samuel Dweck. Charles E. Smith was honorary chairman.
Hebrew Home officials say they expect the new facility will significantly shorten the home's waiting list. Applicants have waited an average of 2 1/2 years for admission to the 266-bed facility built in 1969. With the opening of the new building, the waiting period is expected to average five or six months.
Admissions have averaged 50 or 60 a year. Beginning in mid-June, an additional 40 new residents will be admitted each month. The new building, off Montrose Road in Rockville just beyond the original home, is expected to be fully occupied within seven months.
To qualify for admission, applicants must be 65 or older and must have lived in the Washington area at least two years. All admissions are screened by the home's medical and social work staff. About 80 percent of the home's current residents are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
The home's admissions office, at 6121 Montrose Rd., Rockville, may be reached at 881-0300.