By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Boca Raton Regional Hospital last month officially opened its rehabilitation institute which has undergone more than a year of extensive renovations and expansion.
It seemed only appropriate that during this, its 50th anniversary year, BRRH should name the enlarged and newly equipped center for the woman most responsible for bringing the hospital on Meadows Road into being, Gloria Drummond.
With a gathering of government and hospital officials and citizenry, music, refreshments and speeches, a grand opening of the Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute took place on the hospital campus in March.
Addressing the crowd, Jerry Fedele, hospital president and CEO, discussed the capabilities and aesthetics of the new facility at the corner of Glades Road and 13th Street, a spot he called the hospital’s “front door.”
He also thanked and commended Elaine Johnson Wold for her commitment to the facility through philanthropy motivated by her deep friendship with Gloria Drummond. Wold made a $10 million lead donation for the institute.
Gloria and Robert Drummond led a community-wide drive to raise money for a hospital in Boca Raton after two of their children, Debra, 9, and James Randall, 3, died in 1962 after drinking a poisoned liquid they mistook for milk.
There was no hospital in Boca Raton at the time, so the Drummonds had to drive their stricken children to Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, about a half-hour drive on the two-lane roads of that era. The children passed away that evening.
Boca citizens rallied around the Drummonds and raised the money to build a 104-bed hospital that opened in July of 1967. It has grown in size and program offerings over the years, particularly in the areas of specialized medicine, heart and cancer care.
At the renovated institute, all the hospital’s rehab orthopedic, cardiac and pulmonary services are now under one roof. The center includes aquatic therapy, wound care and hyperbaric treatment, diabetes care, neurological rehabilitation, speech therapy and therapeutic healing programs. The building also has an occupational therapy suite, rehab assessment, assistive technology/visual perceptual, and exam rooms and a nursing station.
The hospital broke ground for the new center in April 2015. Because BRRH continued to use the center during the reconstruction period, the work was done in phases. The revamped institute has actually been in use since last September, officials said.
The structure was built by DPR Construction in conjunction with architect HKS. DPR also built the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute opened in 2015.
During the grand opening, the staff explained some of the new equipment which includes an anti-gravity treadmill that allows therapists to vary the weight of a patient using the equipment after a stroke or for treatment of a knee or hip replacement.
Also, a patient can be hooked to a Birness Vector body weight support and can stand or walk without fear of falling. The support also helps a patient with his or her balance.
The aquatic therapy center contains a pool that can be used for sports training or physical therapy. It offers a lift chair to persons who cannot step into the water, and has a variety of special adaptive exercise features.