About Angelica


Mission

The mission of the Angelica Patient Assistance Program is two-fold: to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged patients and residents in need of long-term medical care and to support long-term medical care facilities in New York City.

 

Background

Angelica was founded in 2005 by a handful of New Yorkers who had previously volunteered at a city hospital that had a significant number of long-term care patients. This shared experience led them to create a new charity specifically dedicated to enhancing the lives of the economically disadvantaged in need of long-term medical care.

Although our initial programs and projects started at Coler and Goldwater Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facilities on Roosevelt Island, they have expanded to other facilities. After Goldwater Hospital closed, many of their patients were moved to Carter Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility in Harlem, which is now an Angelica site. Gouverneur Healthcare Services on the Lower East Side of Manhattan is another long-term care facility that is served by Angelica.

Our primary focus is on recreational, cultural and social programs that engage and stimulate these patients and residents. We look for ways to empower them to take more control over their lives, in an effort to realize a greater sense of independence, choice and purpose within their respective communities. We work closely with patient and resident liaisons at each facility to solicit their recommendations and assistance in developing new programs, activities and events.

Angelica is a 501(c) (3) charity that raises funds from family, friends and a network of individuals who are interested in human services in general and disabled populations in particular. Some funding comes from corporate matching gift programs and corporate volunteer recognition programs. To date, we have received grants from a number of foundations, including the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the Liquidnet Local Impact Challenge.

Angelica partners with NY Cares to sponsor volunteer programs at the hospitals. We have worked with the United Way’s Board Serve program to find new board members and recruit volunteers from sources such as NYC Service and Volunteer Match. Some of our volunteers work on-site at the facilities while others work behind the scenes on organizational issues such as grant writing and public relations.

The New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association recognized Angelica as their Organization of the Year for supporting and promoting Therapeutic Recreation, in particular for underserved populations, in the state of New York. Angelica also received the Goldwater Auxiliary Volunteer Award for consistently supporting programming efforts as well as building strong community relationships through volunteering.

Programs and Activities

Angelica is focused on improving the overall quality of life of patients and residents by engaging people’s imaginations and exposing them to new ideas which in turn stimulates interaction among fellow patients. Some of the outcomes of our programs include improved cognition, social skills, physical functioning, mood and self-esteem.

We host special events including an annual Sweetheart Ball, Carnival, Harvest Ball and Christmas concert. In addition to our own events, Angelica helps supplement the hospitals’ entertainment budget so they can enhance their programs with special food, music, and the like. Throughout the year, we partner with high schools and performing arts groups to bring entertainment to the hospitals. At the same time, weekly and monthly volunteer programs co-sponsored with NY Cares are very popular as they offer snacks, games and movies.

Regular ‘Beauty & Wellness Days’ involve hairdressers, manicurists, make-up artists and massage therapists who donate their time to pamper the patients and residents. We purchase new clothing and distribute it during our ‘Fashion Fiestas’. Food is very important to the patients and residents, so Angelica has found a number of ways to supplement the hospital fare with special treats. For instance, we purchased Vitamix machines to make smoothies and hot dog roasters to be shared among the hospitals; we also provide popcorn for movie nights and include food in most of our programs. Our 'Healthy Starts Cooking Program' encourages patients and residents to take part in cooking demonstrations and lessons, which is followed by enjoying the food that has been prepared.

Since most of the patients and residents at these facilities do not get out often, we sponsor outings that include excursions to restaurants, movies, sporting events and performing arts events. Our duet bicycle program allows wheelchair-bound patients to enjoy a bicycle ride, steered and pedaled by a recreational therapist. Since music can be very therapeutic we have sponsored a hip-hop program, a karaoke program and typically have a band or DJ at our events. Angelica also covers supplies for the art studios and photography club, sponsors visiting art instructors and frames some of the artwork to be displayed in the hospitals. As pastimes are important, we’ve organized an active chess club and have purchased two adaptive pinball machines for those who enjoy games. Another interest that we have funded is horticultural therapy. Recently, we even sponsored a meditation garden for quiet reflection outside one of the hospitals’ patios.

In addition to responding to requests from the patients and residents, we receive funding appeals from recreational therapists who have ideas for their units. To this end, we have fulfilled applications for aquariums, flat screen TV’s, desktop computers, printers, laptops and iPads for use in the units. We also provide assistance for special programs in the AIDS and dementia units.

 

Coler Rehabilitation & Nursing Care Center, Carter Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility and Gouverneur Healthcare Services

Coler Rehabilitation & Nursing Care Center is an 800-bed rehabilitation and nursing facility on Roosevelt Island that provides rehabilitative and long-term services to residents of New York City and the surrounding communities. Patients typically admitted to this center suffer from everything from spinal cord injuries, stroke and cerebral palsy to Muscular Dystrophy, AIDS, and domestic violence.

Carter Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility is a 200-bed hospital in Harlem that provides medical, sub-acute, rehabilitative and skilled nursing home care. The hospital serves New Yorkers with disabilities, such as paraplegics and quadriplegics, and the medically fragile, stroke and heart attack patients who need specialized rehabilitation services.

Gouverneur Healthcare Services has 230 beds for nursing home residents and 58 beds for short-term rehabilitation. It also provides a wide-range of healthcare services to the Lower East Side community, including primary care, women's health and outpatient surgery.

All three of these facilities are operated by the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation. The patients and residents are a very diverse group made up of various races, ages and religions; however, nearly all are economically disadvantaged with limited resources. Many reside in these facilities for an extended period of time – in the majority of cases for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, most immobile and compromised patients have limited opportunities to interact with others, learn or be entertained or distracted from the monotony of their daily routine. As these are all publicly funded facilities, they have limited funds for recreational, cultural, social and educational programs, and budget cuts in recent years continue to strain hospital resources.