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Isabella Geriatric Center is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization, that has provided care for residents of New York since 1875. Isabella provides a continuum of care through residential and community-based services. The main campus is located in the community of Washington Heights at 515 Audubon avenue and the corner of 190th Street.

Isabella Campus


Isabella Uhl 1846 - 1873

When Anna and Oswald Ottendorfer opened the first home in 1875, they named it in honor of Anna's daughter, Isabella Uhl, whose early death at the age of 27 cut short her remarkable career in caring for the poor. Isabella had been deeply impressed by the precarious position of aged women without home or family. When confined to bed, Isabella expressed to her mother the wish that she establish an institution to ensure these women refuge and protection. Two years after Isabella's death, Mrs. Ottendorfer opened Isabella Heimath in Astoria, Queens. The home was originally dedicated to the care of indigent elderly women as per Isabella Uhl's wishes. Isabella Home moved to its present location in 1889 and simultaneously expanded its mission to care for both women and men- without regard to race, creed or nationality. [1][2]

In 1899, the United States Commission to the Paris exposition of 1900[3] requested that Isabella Heimath provide photographs for an exhibition on American Charities. For this submission, the home was awarded the Silver Medal for excellence of its building, services and purposes.[4]

After 76 years with the Home remaining essentially the same, Isabella's capacity for 132 residents outgrew itself and the Board of Managers moved to make provisions for more space and expanded services. On December 7, 1965, The honorable Nelson A. Rockefeller, then Governor of New York State, dedicated Isabella House, a 17-story building containing 12 floors of furnished apartments, 3 floors of nursing care and 2 floors for services and public spaces.[5]

Dedication of Isabella House 1965

The House provided independent living for approximately 250 aged residents. This affordable housing residence for the well elderly was a new concept in institutional care for the aged. At the time, it was the first housing program for the elderly which offered medical and nursing care and a package of social services in a setting where personal freedom and independence was assured.

This growth from 132 to approximately 500 residents made it apparent that the original Isabella Home needed to be replaced. Consequently on April 3, 1972, the 14-story Isabella Nursing Home building was opened. The combination of facility and program expansion in the next few decades helped to create the present day Isabella Geriatric Center. The 1990's once again called for changes and new goals; Isabella began a move to create a more home-like ambiance for residents. These changes and expansions were geared to sustaining and expanding young Isabella's dream and to be a part of a continuing responsive community.


Today, Isabella is a large complex offering a diverstity of services to people of all ages. In addition to a 705-bed nursing home, Isabella offers independent senior housing, adult day health care, child day care, home care, short and long-term rehabilitation and a variety of community programs designed to help older adults remain healthy while living at home.

Isabella Community-based Programs include:

Person Centered Care Model[edit]

Isabella Geriatric Center and Cobble-Hill Health Center have been engaged in an ongoing collaboration to explore new ways to enhance person centered care and to construct a model that uses performance improvement approaches to guide staff in addressing the needs and preferences of residents.[10] They have published a manual on culture change and person centered care for nursing home staff. This manual, titled "Getting Better All the Time", provides practical guidance to those nursing homes that may be exploring a similar journey toward enhancing person-centered care.


Isabella is a member of the following organizations:

Nursing Home Certifications[edit]

Isabella is a Medicare and Medicaid Certified Nursing Home.[22]

  • Residential Health Care: 685
  • Ventilator Dependent: 20
  • Total Certified Beds: 705

Isabella In the News[edit]


External links[edit]

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