A great deal of creative thought and effort went into the design and construction of our Beit Halochem centers in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beer Sheva. All Beit Halochem facilities are specially designed to accommodate veterans with a wide range of disabilities.
Making the facilities completely accessible to the blind and visually impaired, as well as veterans using wheelchairs, is key to helping these veterans feel comfortable and “at home.” Sports, classes, and social events at Beit Halochem centers have been structured and adapted so that it is possible for all members to participate.
Rehabilitative Therapy Wings: Individualized Treatments
Severely handicapped members – those who are blind, paraplegics, amputees and others with disabilities requiring specialized care – receive individualized treatments in the rehabilitative therapy wing of each center.
In order to reach wound servicemen and servicewomen as early as possible, Beit Halochem is in close contact with the hospitals and rehabilitation units where they will be treated. Upon their release, newly disabled veterans are referred to the Beit Halochem nearest their homes to ensure an uninterrupted course of treatment, which is so vital to successful recovery and rehabilitation.
Despite the guiding principle that Beit Halochem should not be regarded as a medical institution, it is apparent that there is a pressing need for personalized programs of treatment, programs and services specifically geared to paramedical rehabilitative therapy. The individualized therapy programs at Beit Halochem have proved to be a effective, they enhance both the emotional and physical fitness of those being treated.
Physical Therapy Institute
Treatment in the physical therapy institute complements other measures in the ongoing process of rehabilitation. As needed it also serves to help members whose health has deteriorated over the years. A team of skilled physical therapists treats members who have been referred by rehabilitation specialists in hospitals, or by clinics of Israel’s Defense Ministry Rehabilitation Division.
The healing aid of water when treating the seriously disabled has long been recognized. Toward this end, Beit Halochem installed heated pools where the water temperature is appropriately gauged for those suffering severe paralysis or orthopedic problems.
A hydrotherapeutic health unit is also maintained on the premises, which contains rooms for therapeutic baths, massage, and two well-equipped gyms for medical gymnastics. The unit is staffed by expert hydro-therapists, specifically trained to administer individualized treatments. For the best possible outcomes, physical therapy begins while the disabled Beit Halochem veteran is still in a hospital or rehabilitation unit.
Combined Treatments: Most Effective
Doctors at Beit Halochem may prescribe a combination of physical therapy and fitness treatments for a short or extended period of time. This combination helps improve body function, while reinforcing the existing potential for self-reliance. Treatments are provided on an individual basis by experienced staff, under strict medical supervision.
Members are treated in fitness rooms furnished with the most up-to-date equipment, equipment specially adapted for a wide range of disabilities.
A critical part of healing is the support of family members. At Beit Halochem in addition to therapeutic activities for the disabled veterans, there are excellent facilities available for the entire family. Young and old can enjoy the congenial atmosphere, and many programs, such as hiking clubs and others group activities, which enrich family life and promote togetherness.
Scholarship Support: Academic and Sports Excellence Program
Many of the veterans wounded during their service to Israel found their dreams and plans suddenly shattered. For many of them, developing their academic skills and advanced sports training are strong steps to recovery. These scholarships will enable them to obtain an education and provide them with the necessary tools to regain confidence and belief in their own ability to face the challenge of a new life.
The amount of the scholarship (between $2,000 USD –$5,000 USD) depends on the disability and financial situation, coupled with the amount he or she has paid. In 2014,519 academic and arts scholarships were distributed, and 65 scholarships for outstanding athletes and coaches, totaling more than $655,000 USD. These funds, raised with the help of donors and Friends’ organizations, assist our members to train, study, and grow.
Applications for scholarship for academic studies are sent to the scholarship committee once a year for each completed academic year. The donor receives the full details of the scholarship recipient (name of the University, faculty, which year and the amount given), and a personal “thank you” letter from the recipient.
Creative Healing Activities
Hundreds of members and their families participate in a variety of clubs and classes. Photography, ceramics, painting, sculpture, music, languages, kayaking and sailing are only a few of the many subjects offered.
Spouses of the disabled veterans also need a chance to get away from their cares and concerns. There are numerous classes offered for them to attend including computer training, bridge, alternative medicine, glee clubs, etc., while their husbands or wives participate in sports training or therapy groups.
Games and Sports: Competitions and Challenges
Not only do competitive sports challenge the individual disabled veteran as a person, they also are an unfailing source of pride both to the State of Israel and disabled veterans as a group. A wide range of activities, some of which are competitive or achievement-oriented, are organized by Beit Halochem through the social and cultural departments.
In addition to the personal pleasure derived from competitive sports, significant rehabilitative value occurs as well. By competing, disabled men and women learn how to rise above their limitations, to face and overcome the many challenges of their new situations more easily and effectively. Chess and bridge clubs meet often and some of the players compete in different league tournaments held on the premises. The billiards club is also very popular, particularly with members suffering from head injuries working on improving their coordination.
Activities for Children
Rehabilitation of the disabled involves the family as a whole. Members’ children also get their share of attention at Beit Halochem. Childcare in a well-equipped nursery is provided during the afternoon hours, leaving parents free for their own activities and therapies.
During summer vacations, numerous crafts and sports clubs are organized for youngsters, as well as extra screenings of films and plays. Study groups, hobby clubs and social events are held throughout the day, giving members and their families a chance to relax and have fun together.
Gil-On Clubs: Activities for the Retirees at Beit Halochem
Hundreds of retirees visit the Beit Halochem centers daily. The Gil-On Club at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv was established in 1995 to provide an enriching cultural, social and recreational framework for the elder members of Beit Halochem and their spouses. Special programming featuring lectures, artists, and meetings with public figures and others, is enjoyed by club members there and at the other Beit Halochem centers.
Another key feature is the organizing of field trips, special events and excursions. Throughout all of the activities, these members support one another while experiencing new and challenging ideas. These senior citizens are encouraged to be part of a lively and supportive community that honors their lives, sacrifices, and their ongoing place in the world. For many of our aging disabled veterans, the warm community that is Beit Halochem becomes a second home, a place where they are always welcome.
Membership is free for anyone aged 55 years and above.
The Art of Leisure
Our members can fill their leisure hours at Beit Halochem with an exciting array of cultural and arts programs. In addition to plays and performances, dances and parties, there are stimulating lectures, discussion groups and exhibits of members’ arts and crafts creations. Current popular films are screened in the movie theatre, and well-attended celebrations mark the holidays.