The nurses at Hadassah’s Gandel Rehabilitation Centre play an important role in the recovery of the wounded soldiers by providing round-the-clock medical care and emotional support.


The role of nurses in rehabilitation is a key factor in helping patients after they have experienced traumatic events such as crises, accidents, or injuries. After the acute and life-saving stage, the wounded are at the beginning of their return to routine life.


The new Gandel Rehabilitation Centre at Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital sees patients with a variety of different diagnoses – after a stroke, complex fracture, car accident, injury in an attack, or multi-system injuries. With the beginning of the war, Hadassah quickly established a dedicated department in the rehabilitation centre to treat the war wounded who arrived en masse after undergoing complex surgeries and procedures.


Sarit Mezevitz Sonnenschein, a nurse in the rehabilitation department at Hadassah Mount Scopus for the past 13 years, who was appointed as the deputy head nurse. “When the war wounded began to arrive for rehabilitation, the department’s management was carried out with cooperation from all teams – nursing, medicine, occupational therapists, dieticians, speech therapists, physical therapists, as well as uniquely joined by alternative medicine therapists and therapy dogs. ‘’


Sarit has treated dozens of wounded since the beginning of the war, each of whom, in their own way, gave her strength by demonstrating incredible tenacity in their coping mechanisms and a fierce desire to return to the life they knew before the injury.


The work of the nurses in the rehabilitation department consists of nursing support for the patients’ physical conditions, but Sarit emphasizes that emotional support plays an integral part in the role of the nurses, which became very clear with the arrival of the injured soldiers. ‘’Emotional support is very significant– even critical. During the rehabilitation process, soldiers regularly went to the funerals of their comrades, while they were going through such a difficult and sensitive process – but we are here to make sure they are supported and to treat those who experience any regression.”


‘’Some soldiers would tell us their stories several times, and we understood their need to unload and or when we needed to give them space’’. However, hearing the harrowing stories was not easy for Sarit, especially when her husband was drafted and sent away from home for a long time: ‘’ My husband was also drafted at the beginning of the war, and my treatment of the wounded gave additional meaning to my work, even at a time when my heart was heavy and I was very worried,” she describes. “Sometimes I cried with them and we shed many tears’’.


Despite the difficulty, Sarit says that what strengthens her is the soldiers themselves and how they cope with all the difficulties: “I am encouraged by their heroism here in rehabilitation. Even when hurt, they managed to reset and get back on track; there’s no other way for them, and that’s their victory. Just like on the battlefield, they continue to fight for their lives even in the challenging rehabilitation process.”


Sarit and the soldiers have established a close bond, most of whom come to visit the department for their treatment as outpatients. One of the soldiers who Sarit personally connected with is Aharon Shmuel Bryce, a soldier in the Armoured Brigade who was very seriously wounded in battle in the heart of the Gaza Strip.


Sarit talks about getting to know the soldier, whose unique approach to life inspired her: “Aharon came to us for rehabilitation when he needed physical help walking because the injury impaired his stability. He was severely wounded; he had shrapnel all over his body with deep wounds that required intensive treatment. In the early days, Aharon would use friends to help him walk around, but I always saw him with a smile. He never feels miserable; he accepts what comes to him and grows from it; it’s an attitude that saves him. Within a week, he was walking in the department independently.


“We connected and created a special bond because of our personal stories,” Sarit says. Even after Aharon was discharged from the department, he visited Sarit occasionally, and their friendship continued after his recovery. A few weeks after his release, Aharon held a thanksgiving celebration and invited Sarit, who came to support him; with great excitement. Sarit says: “The thanksgiving celebration was very moving. Seeing Aharon standing there after his difficult rehabilitation process moved me to tears. He is a exceptional person, and I am glad I had the privilege of caring for him and all the other soldiers who have passed through our department.”


Aharon speaks highly of Sarit’s unwavering dedication: ‘’Sarit is a special person, a nurse of supreme grace. In such an intensive rehabilitation process, you need someone who will believe in you no matter what happens. Sarit was that person, always standing there by my side, showing a level of commitment that was truly inspiring.”


In the photo, Sarit and soldier Aharon at the Gandel Rehabilitation Centre at Hadassah Mt. Scopus. Photo – Hadassah Spokesperson’s Office

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