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St. John Hospital receives $2M from Wilson Foundation

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation has awarded $2 million in grants to St. John Hospital & Medical Center to help enhance the care of senior citizens.

The donations will be used to create an outpatient Senior Assessment for Independent Living Center and to add to a new Acute Care of the Elderly Unit at St. John Hospital.

Both facilities will be named in honor of Wilson, the late owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, who died in 2014.

The gifts are part of a series of one-time grants made through the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation’s transitional legacy program. St. John Hospital is the first organization in Michigan to receive gifts as part of this initiative.

The center, which will adjoin the existing St. John Medical Center-Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Campus in Grosse Pointe, will offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluations and treatment plans for elderly patients with complex issues.

Recent studies have shown that using a Senior Assessment for Independent Living Center can result in significant improvements in seniors’ quality of life and living independence, hospital official said.

The American Geriatrics Society recommends comprehensive geriatric assessments for patients at high risk of future hospitalization or nursing home placement, patients with impairments in daily living activities, or those experiencing one of many age-related conditions such as falls, incontinence, dementia and more.

The ACE Unit is a medical-surgical unit in the hospital devoted to caring for adults ages 65 and older. It integrates disciplines to collaboratively develop patient-centered care plans.

“We are extremely grateful that St. John Hospital & Medical Center is one of the organizations that Mr. Wilson cared about and generously supported, and we are privileged to be among those carefully selected to receive these exceptional legacy grants,” said Susan Burns, president of the St. John Providence Foundations.

Mary Wilson, a Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation trustee and Ralph Wilson’s wife, said the foundation is proud to support St. John Hospital & Medical Center and to continue her husband’s commitment to the organization and the people of southeastern Michigan.

“Through The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Campus at the St. John Medical Center and now this announcement, the collaboration between our organizations will continue to serve a critically important population for the region,” she said.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is a private foundation headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms.

With $1.2 billion on hand, the foundation must spend all its money over the next 20 years and will focus on causes such as healthy lifestyles, early childhood and youth development, caregivers, community development and economic growth.

Wilson, a native Detroiter who was 95 when he died, founded the Buffalo Bills football team in 1959. His estate sold the franchise in 2014 for $1.4 billion. He also owned manufacturing, mining, insurance and other businesses.

The same four individuals who served as trustees for Wilson’s estate are designated as life trustees of the foundation. Three trustees will be added in the near future.

JChambers@detroitnews.com