Holy Cross Health has announced that Fort Lauderdale residents Jon and Helaine Ayers have made a $2 million gift to support the hospital’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center.
In recognition of the generous gift, the center will be renamed the Jon and Helaine Ayers Rehabilitation Institute. Located at the main hospital in Fort Lauderdale, the Institute is dedicated to providing specialized outpatient care for individuals with neurological, oncologic, vestibular and complex orthopedic conditions.
With this gift, the Rehabilitation Institute will undergo a transformational physical renovation and the addition of significant investments in the latest state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment. This transformation will create a welcoming and comfortable environment for patients, ensuring an unparalleled rehabilitation experience.
“We are blessed to have the support of Jon and Helaine Ayers, who are committed to the highest quality compassionate care for all in our community,” said Mark Doyle, President and CEO of Holy Cross Health.“With their incredible gift, Holy Cross Health will usher in a new era of rehabilitation excellence with the only known rehabilitation center of its kind and sophistication in Broward County.”
Rehabilitation hits close to home for Jon, the former Chairman and CEO of IDEXX Laboratories, a global leader in pet healthcare innovation. In June 2019, his life was forever changed when he was seriously injured in a catastrophic bike crash, caused by another cyclist, leaving him a quadriplegic.
“My accident reshaped my outlook on life. I continue to spend roughly 20 hours a week in physical therapy, working to improve strength, function and wellbeing,” Jon said. “I am so appreciative of the care I have received, and I want to make sure other patients have access to great therapists, supported by the latest technology, treatments and equipment.”
As part of this renovation for the capital project, Holy Cross Health is purchasing eight new pieces of equipment. Holy Cross will be the only facility in Broward County with many of these unique therapies that help patients regain and improve their mobility and balance.
The Balance Quest TRV Chair diagnoses and treats patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). When the patient is strapped securely into the chair, the seat can be rotated 360 degrees along a semicircular plane to put the patient in an inverted position. The patient wears video-enabled goggles so their eye movements can be monitored. According to manufacturer Interacoustics, vertigo accounts for approximately six million clinic visits in the U.S. annually. Nearly 50% of these patients experiencing dizziness are diagnosed with BPPV, and nearly 10% of the population will have an occurrence in their lifetime and the likelihood increases by 38% every 10 years, with the highest number of cases in people between 50 and 70 years of age.
The C-Mill balance and gait treadmill incorporates virtual and augmented reality on a large screen to simulate walking in various challenging settings that a person is likely to encounter when out and about. There are adjustable handrails and an optional harness to provide patients with stability as they stroll. The immersive and interactive experience adds a bit of fun to rehab.
The SafeGait 360° Balance and Mobility Trainer™ by Gorbel is an overhead ceiling-mounted track with a body weight support harness that hangs below. The patient is strapped into the harness to walk independently, or with assistance, with a significantly reduced risk of falling and getting injured.
The Gait Trainer™ 3 from Biodex is a treadmill that incorporates music therapy in tandem with integrating rhythmic auditory cueing (RAC) and visual biofeedback to promote neuroplasticity. It’s the only treadmill capable of monitoring and recording step length, speed and symmetry. The system features a curated library of music that contains specific components and the ideal number of beats per minute for proper pacing.
The Biodex Balance System™ SD is a platform that a patient stands on while holding on to handles for stability. The platform moves, challenging the patient to balance and build muscle in their legs and core. Athletes also use this for agility training. It assesses fall risk and is used in concussion management.
The Bioness Integrated Therapy System is an interactive touch screen that helps patients recovering from neurological conditions such as concussions with improving hand-eye coordination, reaction time, depth perception and memory. While interacting with visual and cognitive activities on the screen, patients are standing on a platform that presents balance and stability challenges.
The MyoCycle Pro is a functional electrical stimulation (FES) stationary bicycle used to help patients suffering from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis (MS), strokes, brain injuries or other neurological disorders. Patients strap their feet and calves into boots attached to the pedals. The motorized pedals go in a circular motion to simulate riding a bike, giving patients the ability to exercise and build and maintain muscle tone even if they are not physically capable of initiating the pedaling. Small adhesive electrodes that emit electric impulses are placed on the arms or legs to activate the limbs. For patients who are in a wheelchair, they can remain seated in their wheelchair while using this bike.
The EksoNR is a robotic exoskeleton designed to retrain the body how to walk, with the goal of patients one day regaining the ability to walk without assistance. The exoskeleton has leg braces and a vest that is strapped onto a patient’s body to help the appendages move. It’s the first exoskeleton that’s FDA-cleared to rehabilitate people with brain injuries, strokes, MS and spinal cord injuries.
“This extraordinary donation from Jon and Helaine Ayers will have a profound impact on countless individuals in our community,” said Laura Denoux, Vice President & Chief Development Officer at Holy Cross Health. “It is an investment in the future of healthcare and the well-being of our patients, enabling Holy Cross Health to extend its reach and provide the highest quality care.”
Jon, who joined the Holy Cross Health Board of Directors this month, earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class.
With a background in animal health, Jon also cares passionately about members of the feline family in the wild. He is Chair of the Board of Directors for Panthera, a non-profit that’s devoted to the conservation of 40 species of wild cats throughout the world, and the couple has also established The Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust.
For more information on Holy Cross Health’s outpatient rehabilitation services, visit holy-cross.com.
ABOUT HOLY CROSS HEALTH
A member of Trinity Health, Fort Lauderdale-based Holy Cross Hospital, dba Holy Cross Health, is a full-service, non-profit, Catholic, teaching hospital operating in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. Holy Cross has been recognized for six Types of Care in U.S. News and World Report’s 2023-24 Best Hospital rankings. Through strategic collaborations and a commitment to being a person-centered, transforming, healing presence, the 557-bed hospital offers progressive inpatient, outpatient and community outreach services and clinical research trials to serve as our community’s trusted health partner for life. Holy Cross Health also encompasses Holy Cross HealthPlex outpatient facility, urgent care centers and more than 40 Holy Cross Medical Group physician practices. To learn more about Holy Cross Health, visit holy-cross.com. Connect @holycrossfl.