Oct 15, 2020 Creating A Healthy Community

Older Adults Are Receiving High-Quality Care In A Newly Renovated Inpatient Setting Thanks To A Generous Donation.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset is dedicated to providing high-quality care for all patients, including older adults. Its 33-bed Geriatric Inpatient Unit on 1-East has been designated as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) facility, which demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to providing patient-centered care for the elderly. In January, renovations to the unit, including a new nurses’ station, floors and room fixtures, were completed, thanks to a $1 million donation from Suzanne and Steve Kalafer. Steve is the founding chairman of the Flemington Car & Truck Country Family of Brands, the Somerset Patriots, and former chair of the Somerset Health Care Foundation.

The Kalafers have a long history of supporting RWJUH Somerset. Steve first became acquainted with the institution when he was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma there about 30 years ago. “I noticed that this sophisticated hospital was also warm and caring,” says Steve. “Everyone, including the nurses, janitors and technicians, had a genuine connection with patients. I admired and valued that.” During his treatment at RWJUH Somerset, Steve made “lifelong friends with the doctors, nurses, and staff members,” he says. After his treatment was finished, Steve went into remission.

Enhancing Patient Care

In 2004, Steve joined the Board of Trustees of the Somerset Medical Center Foundation, as it was then known, and became chairman in 2010. He spearheaded many successful fundraising campaigns, including raising more than $20 million for the hospital’s $100 million expansion project, which included a new Emergency Department, two inpatient pavilions, seven new operating suites, and a new parking garage.

Steve and the Flemington Car & Truck Country Family of Brands have generously sponsored free parking at the hospital’s Rehill Avenue parking deck since 2009. “Having to pay for parking could limit seniors’ visits to the hospital,” says Steve. “I said, ‘We need to take away the toll for visitors.’”

Steve and the Nardoni family co-founded the Paul R. Nardoni Foundation, which offers support to cancer patients and their families. The Foundation provided funding for RWJUH Somerset’s Paul R. Nardoni Oncology Pavilion, a 35-bed unit for cancer patients also known as “Paul’s Place.” It offers care in a beautiful setting with hardwood-look floors, cherry wood furnishings, refrigerators, private baths, DVD players, flat-screen TVs, and sleeper sofas for family members.

Another contribution involves the Women’s Club of Canal Walk, an adult community in Somerset, Franklin Township, which raises funds for RWJUH Somerset. “These women are fully engaged in raising money for the hospital,” says Steve. “I told them to work hard, and I will match the funds that they raise.” To date, they have raised a total of $100,000.

RWJUH Somerset appreciates Suzanne and Steve Kalafer’s unwavering commitment to improving the health of the community. Says Anthony Cava, President, and Chief Executive Officer: “We’re grateful for their extraordinary generosity and longtime support.”

Learn more about the Somerset Health Care Foundation here.