Apparently, it is easy being green. Not the color, but the concept for the Sosin Rehabilitation Center in Longmeadow, MA.

Open since December 2016, the JGS Lifecare-operated rehab and skilled nursing community says it is the first true rehab center option for residents in Western Massachusetts, as well as the only certified Green House community in the region, and it fills a void. Before Sosin’s debut, the only short-term rehab options for post-surgical patients were conventional nursing homes.

The Sosin Center is the centerpiece of the community, which also includes the Leavitt Family Jewish Home. The renovated space has the capacity for 24 short-term rehab patients between two Green House model neighborhoods. All rooms are private, with full baths, and each home has a shared living room, dining room, lounge and kosher kitchen.

Susan Halpern, vice president of development and communications for JGS Lifecare, says the model was chosen because it provides a positive, comfortable environment for healing.

“We wanted to provide a higher level of care and thought the Green House model would provide that,” she says.

The design team hoped to create a rehab space that was more personal and intimate, so instead of creating one big gymnasium, they opted to designate rehab opportunities in various areas on each floor so that residents don’t have to go far for their therapy, says Martin
Siefering, principal of Perkins-Eastman’s Pittsburgh office and design lead for the project.

“Every design element is intended to help patients with the healing experience,” he says. “Positive outcomes are at the center of every physical aspect of the community.”

The Green House model is designed to meet the LEED standard for energy conservation and environmental responsibility.

“It is a high-efficiency building envelope with mechanical systems that use as little energy as possible while providing a high degree of comfort,” Siefering says. “That is at one end, while the other consists of finished materials that use resources intelligently, like recycled content. We are working commonly with sustainability content called WELL Building, which guides our thinking about it.”

A special meeting place called Michael’s Kosher Cafe occupies the junction between the short-term rehab center and skilled nursing community. The cafe serves as a place “where everyone can mingle and socialize,” Halpern says.

It is named after JGS Lifecare board member Michael Frankel — a champion of the community’s LEED certification — who died in 2013, at age 49.

Lessons learned

—Building a home-like rehab center can be a competitive advantage in areas where standard nursing homes are the only short-term rehab option for post-surgical patients.

—For communities that require kosher dietary standards, it is essential to modify unit design to include two kitchens.

—Building to the LEED standard assures optimum energy conservation and environmental responsibility.