Mark Addleman

20 July 2023

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Blog By Lonye Rasch,


About six months ago, my Israeli cousin’s wife was walking home when she was hit by a jeep and trapped under one of its wheels. After many days in hospital and a complex, 10-hour surgery to save her legs, she eventually faced her new full-time job as a patient in an inpatient rehabilitation centre. She was lucky to get a bed in a quality comprehensive facility near her home. Her ability to envision a normal life once again is only real because a bed and a multitalented, multidisciplinary rehabilitation team were there for her after the accident.


Lonye Rasch in front of the in-construction hydrotherapy pools

It is with the image of my brave and determined cousin in mind that I reflect on my recent tour of the construction site of the new Gandel Rehabilitation Centre, rising at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus. With Jerusalem’s population growing rapidly, the city desperately needs this new facility, which will increase inpatient capacity from 38 beds to 132 beds. At the current 50-year-old rehabilitation department, there is a long waiting list for a bed; a frustrating obstacle to a patient’s optimum recovery.


The Gandel Foundation, led by John Gandel and Pauline Gandel of Melbourne, Australia, provided the signature naming gift, facilitated by Hadassah Australia. Now, a three-way strategic partnership between Hadassah, the government of Israel, and the mayor of Jerusalem is propelling the construction forward.



‘’On average, inpatient rehabilitation requires a stay of 33 to 35 days, so the building has to provide a home away from home,” explains architect Arthur Spector.


The Gandel Rehabilitation Centre construction site, March 2023

The centre will have healing gardens, giving patients the opportunity to be with nature. There will also be a rooftop garden for the patients and their families. A synagogue and multi-faith prayer room will be on-site to promote spiritual healing. The facility will contain special lifts that will hoist patients from bed to shower, eliminating the need for medical and nursing staff to lift up a patient. Temperature-regulated hydrotherapy pools will provide personalised therapy according to each patient’s needs.


Eased by state-of-the-art equipment and beautiful surroundings, rehabilitation is still a journey of ups and downs. Patients must grapple with the psychological trauma of having their regular lives totally disrupted, along with the physical and cognitive injuries they have sustained. It takes “a village” of physical and occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, and dieticians to restore the patient to health and quality of life.


Yulia Portnoy, Deputy Head Nurse of Hadassah’s rehabilitation inpatient ward, explains that sometimes therapy can bring patients fully back to where they were before their accident or illness. She remembers one soldier, for example, who was not able to move his arms or legs when he first arrived. But after a few months, he got his full mobility back.


A typical day of treatment may comprise of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, hydrotherapy in one of the pools, and various cognitive exercises. Outpatients, who come in each morning for therapy, typically stay until 6:00 pm.


The three-screen interactive driving simulator programme

Sometimes, ordinary tasks that patients performed before their accident or illness need to be relearned, like driving. With the help of a driving simulator – an interactive programme which recreates real-life driving scenarios, patients can regain their skills and reaction time.


Portnoy, looks forward to moving into the new spacious Gandel Rehabilitation Centre, where there will be much more room to help many more patients, with a larger selection of innovative equipment. “Patients won’t have to wait in line to use the machine they need”.


Editor’s Notes


An excerpt from a blog by Lonye Rasch – click here to read the full story.


Hadassah UK is investing in the new Gandel Rehabilitation Centre by sponsoring the Technological Incubator Hub within the centre – a facility for innovative research and development of new ways to treat our patient’s rehabilitation needs. Click here to find out more.


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