Tietz nursing center plans unit for short-term rehab

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The Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a 200-bed residential health care facility in Jamaica that currently serves mostly people age 70 and older, will open a 14-bed, short-term rehabilitation unit Friday that serves younger patients in their 40s and 50s as well as older adults.

Officials at the center foresee that the unit will be occupied by patients who have sustained a variety of injuries including fractures, broken limbs, amputation, knee replacement, neurological and orthopedic impairment, stroke, complex wounds and surgical procedures.

Most patients will be referred to the center by hospitals and will stay on the unit for 10 to 20 days.

"They could have had recent surgery in an acute care setting and require short-term rehabilitation," said Kenn Brown, chief executive officer of the Margaret Tietz Center, which is located at 164-11 Chapin Parkway. "We will reorient them back to community life."

The rehabilitation unit has regular exercise machines, including standing bicycles and weight machines, as well as a special cardio-training machine called an aerobicizer, and a paraffin wax bath to aid in strengthening limbs.

All rooms in the rehabilitation unit are private and include a television with cable access and VCR and a telephone which can be used for unlimited local calling. In the back of the sixth-floor unit is a lounge area with a plasma TV, a library, computer terminals with Internet access and a dining area that overlooks a garden.

"It's really quite a state-of-the-art, beautiful facility," said Linda Spiegel, a spokeswoman for the center. "It's very much looking like a hotel environment."

The unit will be staffed with physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech language pathologists that especially help patients who have had strokes, audiologists, therapeutic recreation workers, a doctor of holistic and Chinese medicine and a nursing team.

If the new rehabilitation unit does well, Brown said the center may expand it in the future to a 26-patient unit.

"We will evaluate it, see how successful it is, and we're hoping we'll be expanding the capacity," said Brown.

In addition to the rehabilitation unit, the Margaret Tietz Center also operates a 14-bed hospice unit on the second floor that serves patients who are at the end of their lives.

The center is also currently negotiating with the city and the Health and Hospitals Corporation to take control of the T-building on the Queens Hospital Center campus. According to Brown, the center plans to use the space for about 200 independent and assisted-living apartments, a dialysis center and day care center.

Officials who are expected to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the rehabilitation unit include Borough President Helen Marshall, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing).

Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at, or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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