The Floridean Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1944 – 2014, celebrated 70 years of healthcare service to the Miami community in a week-long calendar of events culminating in a World War II-themed party, June 27. The exterior of Miami’s oldest nursing home sported vintage vehicles, sandbags, camouflage and flags to set the tone. Guests were greeted by staff and volunteers outfitted in military and period nurse’s uniforms (complete with starched white caps) as Big Band music played in the USO Stage Door canteen (a.k.a. dining room).
Featured speakers included Kelley Rice-Schild, Floridean’s Executive Director and great-granddaughter of the founder, historian Dr. Paul George, and Dr. James J. Hutson, Medical Doctor Emeritus and grandson of Jackson Memorial Hospital founder, Dr. James M. Jackson. A documentary about the facility’s history, written by another family member – Gina Rice Guilford – was shown. “The Floridean had wonderful patients. They wanted to talk to the doctor. Personal contact was very important. Mrs. Rice taught me this,” said Dr. Hutson who became the Floridean’s medical director in the 1960s. Tomas Regalado, Jr. presented the Floridean with a proclamation from his father, Miami mayor Tomas Regalado for the facility’s long history of public health service.
Always a family-owned and operated concern, the Floridean was purchased in 1943 as a business venture for Jack R. Rice’s mother, Florence (“Flori”) Dean, a practical nurse who had taken care of elderly patients in her Philadelphia home. The facility was named “Floridean” in her honor. The 1920s-era building located just north of West Flagler Street once operated as the Sunshine Hospital. Jack R. Rice and his wife, Julia continued to operate the Floridean after his mother’s passing; later Julia Rice became the chief administrator. Jack and Julia’s granddaughter, Kelley Rice-Schild joined the business in 1982 and eventually became the chief administrator.
“You might say I had a lot of on-the-job training from my grandmother. We rolled with the punches and kept up with the trends,” said Kelley. Over the years the Floridean expanded the scope of its healthcare services, updating and adding to the original building. The Butch Rice Wellness and Rehabilitation Center opened in 2008. The center is named for Kelley’s father, Frank “Butch” Rice.
“I am proud to carry on the tradition and continue to meet the nursing and rehab needs of our community. Nursing care has dramatically changed in 70 years, and Floridean continues to be on the forefront expanding our facility and services as healthcare evolves for our generation,” said Kelley. Quality and compassionate care is the hallmark of the Floridean and has been throughout its 70 year history.
“The Floridean should be a model for other nursing homes. The true test for me is the happiness of the residents. Here, the residents remain involved and refer the Floridean to their friends and family,” said Floridean’s Director of Nursing, Lavern Nembhard.
In fact, there are staff members and volunteers who came to the Floridean to visit family and were so impressed that they decided that this was the place in which they wanted to work.
The Floridean is located at 47 NW 32nd Place, Miami. For more information call 305-649-2911 or visit online at www.floridean.com to learn about their healthcare services.