Governor Murphy visits Matheny to celebrate COVID-19 vaccinations

On Tuesday, February 9th, 2021, Matheny was honored to be visited by Governor Phil Murphy, Commissioner Persichelli, Commissioner Adelman, Congressman Malinowski, IDD Ombudsman Paul Aronsohn, and Mayor Greg Skinner!

Since the start of the pandemic, Governor Murphy has worked tirelessly to protect public health across the state of New Jersey. We are especially grateful for his efforts to ensure that vulnerable groups – including individuals with disabilities and front line healthcare workers – have access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

You can find the live video of the Governor’s visit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agGeftDLOJ0

Matheny received doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday, January 11th. As you can see from the photo gallery below, our community members are eager and enthusiastic to take this step to protect themselves, the Matheny community, their loved ones, their neighbors, and more.

If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine and are interested in learning more, we highly recommend registering for these events from the New Jersey Department of Health:

 

Matheny’s Memorable Moments & Bright Spots of 2020

When we wrote our “Best of 2019” post around this time last year, we had no idea what we were in for in the coming months. Needless to say, this year at Matheny has been very different from years past – plans changed, events were adapted or cancelled, social distancing and other safety precautions became our new normal.

However, thanks to our stellar community of patients, residents, staff, families, and supporters, Matheny still accomplished a lot in 2020. Some of the highlights are below.

Thank you for facing this unusual year with us. If we can achieve so much under these unique circumstances, we cannot wait to see what awaits us in 2021! The challenges of the pandemic may continue for some time, but we are prepared. No matter what happens, the safety, care, and happiness of our patients and residents will always come first.

All of us at Matheny wish you and your loved ones a new year filled with good health, peace and joy.

  1. The year started off strong with our receipt of the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®for Hospital Accreditation in January. Matheny is proud of our focus on patient safety and careful compliance with performance standards.
  2. In February, we were thrilled to receive a generous grant from the Delta Dental Foundation, which will help ensure that our Dental Clinic continues to have the equipment, resources, and expertise to provide comprehensive, high-quality dental care to individuals with complex developmental disabilities. We are committed to providing each patient with a comfortable and enjoyable experience!
  3. Later in February, before the COVID-19 restrictions began, our Arts Access program was proud to participate in the Access-ABILITY Exhibit at Morris Museum for the third time. Work from 15 talented Matheny artists was shown alongside work from Center for Enhancing Abilities in a pop-up exhibit at the museum. This ended up being the only in-person event for the Arts Access program in 2020, making it all the more meaningful.
  4. At the beginning of March, our Adults Services program got a visit from the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities. We were honored to receive a proclamation from the Governor in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness month!
  5. Throughout the most difficult months of spring and summer, we learned just how supportive and enthusiastic our community members can be. Led by the Friends of Matheny, our local community (including neighborhood police and firefighters) organized multiple “hero salutes” where they would circle Matheny’s driveway in their cars, honking horns and waving homemade signs with encouraging and uplifting messages. These were true moments of unity and happiness during a difficult time for our staff.
  6. When we needed them most, our community of supporters was there for us! We were gifted numerous donations of food and personal protective equipment (PPE) from individuals, families, and business in the wider community. We can’t thank them enough!
  7. We are always blown away by the talent of our Arts Access artists, and they didn’t let quarantine or social distancing disrupt their creativity! During late spring, Arts Access was able to adapt the facilitation process in order to continue serving artists from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
  8. We successfully launched a Virtual Miles for Matheny! While staff and participants did a Wheelchair Walk and posed for photos on the Peapack campus, supporters participated and raised money from a distance, riding their bikes or running near their homes and at their own convenience. While we missed seeing one another in person, we proved that nothing can stop us from celebrating the abilities of Matheny’s students and residents!
  9. Arts Access participated in the highly-anticipated Annual NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit – the 10th anniversary of this special collaboration. With hard work, imagination, and flexibility, the Arts Access program found ways to adapt the exhibition for a virtual space. Over the summer, they showcased the redesigned virtual exhibit and held a virtual artists reception over Zoom. Our talented artists were thrilled to show off their creativity!
  10. August 2020 marked the start of an exciting new collaboration between Matheny and Children’s Specialized Hospital! This strategic partnership will allow two organizations with shared missions and values to expand their expertise, experience, and resources in order to provide the highest possible quality clinical care and education for individuals with disabilities throughout the state.
  11. On Tuesday, August 11th, Matheny was visited by the wonderful folks at Cut Red Tape 4 Heroes, who distributed 6,500 pieces of free personal protective equipment to Matheny’s hardworking employees. CRT4H distributes essential equipment directly to NYC organizations, communities, and individuals most in need – hospital, homeless shelter and nursing home workers, veterans, and public housing residents. At that point, Matheny was the second hospital in NJ to benefit from their generosity.
  12. In early October, we were able to host our annual Golf Outing for the Matheny School! Our golfers adapted to additional safety measures, including masks and distancing, and generously contributed over $25,000 to benefit our wonderful students!
  13. After several months of closure, our Adult Day Program in Hillsborough reopened in October – and the event was made all the better by a visit from John Elliot of CBS 2 NY! John interviewed several Matheny patients and staff, all of whom were thrilled to be back. What a great way to return!
  14. We have spent the last several months in awe of the compassion, determination of professionalism of our frontline healthcare heroes. Matheny’s doctors, nurses, therapists, personal care and community resident assistants, and all other clinical staff are simply the best. We’re so lucky to have them on our team and cannot thank them enough.

And finally, we ask everyone to take a moment to remember the precious lives we lost this year.  Matheny’s residents, students, and employees who are now resting in peace – their memories will remain alive in our hearts and minds forever.

In the end, we learned to cherish and appreciate family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors more. We are grateful for the experiences had and the lessons learned. We look forward to a happier and healthier 2021.

Charles “Chuck” Matheny – Model of Possibility

Charles H. Matheny, age 76, died on December 14, 2017 – three years ago today. A native of Minnesota, he lived most of his life in his home on the campus of the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ.

“Chuck,” who was born in 1941 with cerebral palsy, became the inspiration and the motivating force behind the founding of the Matheny School in 1946, and its decades-long development into a highly sophisticated and renowned specialized school and hospital. The Center currently educates and provides a wide spectrum of services for children and adults with cerebral palsy and other medically complex developmental disabilities.

Chuck was the older child of Marguerite and Walter Matheny, educators who left their home in the Midwest when Chuck was very young.  They moved around the country due to Walter’s position as an Air Force Civilian Consultant and to search for the kind of therapeutic and educational programs that would support the development of their son. They settled in New Jersey when Walter became the manager of a newly established school in the state. Just a few months later, Walter left that job when he and Marguerite decided to establish their own school–for Chuck and for all children with cerebral palsy.

While the first years of the school were fraught with significant financial and operational challenges, the determination of Chuck’s parents drove them to fashion their vision into reality. From its start as the Burnt Mills School for Paralysis Correction with just three students and a $3,000 operating budget provided through a GI loan, the school took a major step forward when it moved in 1949 into larger quarters in Far Hills. The need for a school like this was huge, and students and families came from across the country and the world to access its services. In 1954, the school moved again, this time to its current location, where it has grown and flourished. The Center is currently comprised of a hospital; a school for students ages 3 to 21, providing academics as well as training in functional life skills; specialized outpatient clinics for individuals with all kinds of disabilities; a notable fine arts program; adult day services, and five adult group homes.

Chuck was a pivotal force in the development of the Center that bears the Matheny name. Not only was he well educated there, and supported to reach his full potential, but he helped to create the “personality” of this compassionate and cohesive community that has served so many so well.

Chuck grew up to be a warm, kind, positive person, a “storyteller,” a man with a wonderful sense of humor, someone who greatly valued friendship and whose friendship was greatly valued, a person who loved life and loved his particular life, according to those who knew him. He became “the face” of Matheny, but beyond that he became the model of possibility for all those growing up, or newly afflicted, with limitations. He graduated from high school, learned to drive, mowed the lawns of Matheny’s main campus, and actively participated in all of Matheny’s events and fundraisers.

Chuck Matheny is remembered as the catalyst for the founding of the Matheny Medical and Educational Center, and as a beacon of achievement and a caring friend to so many. His “story” and that of the Center that bears his name are positively and permanently entwined in New Jersey’s educational landscape and history.

About Matheny

Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and is headquartered in Somerset County. It was founded in 1946 after Walter and Marguerite Matheny’s son, Chuck, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) into a world ill-equipped to care for children with special needs. Matheny patients have a diverse range of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of rare diseases including Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Wolf-Hirshorn syndrome and 4Q Deletion syndrome. To learn more about Matheny, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram: @mathenymedical.

A special Trunk or Treat

Matheny has had to make many changes to keep our staff, patients, and residents safe over the last few months. We’ve had to make significant adjustments to many of our usual events. But Fall is always a busy time at Matheny, and we’re determined to have fun, even as we take precautions.

Check out photos from our special Trunk or Treat event on Red Zone! Things may be different this year, but we’re keeping up the Halloween spirit!

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: You Are the Sunshine of Our Lives

It’s been a very difficult few months for all of us. So Lynn Coyle and her students from the Matheny Music Therapy Department decided to put something together to cheer everyone up and express how much they miss the parents, staff, volunteers, and friends in the wider Matheny community.

Check out the video below – we hope you enjoy it!

Children’s Specialized Hospital and Matheny School and Hospital Announce Strategic Collaboration

Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, and Matheny School and Hospital, Inc. have announced plans to enter into a strategic collaboration. This agreement will allow CSH and Matheny to share expertise, experience and resources in an effort to improve access to high quality clinical care and education for those with disabilities throughout New Jersey.

The organizations’ missions are parallel – to provide the programs and services necessary for those with special health care needs to live a life full of opportunity and potential. Matheny is a residential special hospital and school for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny offers comprehensive and compassionate care to people with disabilities throughout the state of New Jersey. CSH is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age facing special health care challenges. These include chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health.

“I am confident that our collaboration with Matheny will prove beneficial not only for our two organizations but most importantly for the special needs community throughout New Jersey and beyond,” said Warren E. Moore, FACHE, President and CEO, Children’s Specialized Hospital and Senior Vice President, Pediatric Services, RWJBarnabas Health. “I am looking forward to working together to create a system of care for the patients and families we serve throughout their lifespan.”

“Through this collaboration, we will be able to serve more people with special needs, offer more services, and therefore increase access to care which is currently a challenge for this population,” said Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD, President and CEO, Matheny School and Hospital. “I want to thank everyone who made this collaboration possible. We are proud to be associated with Children’s Specialized.”

About Children’s Specialized Hospital

Children’s Specialized Hospital is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age facing special healthcare challenges – from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health. At 13 different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective so each child can reach their full potential. For more information, visit www.childrens-specialized.org.

About Matheny School and Hospital

Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501c3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Somerset County. It was founded in 1946 and today offers comprehensive quality care through its fully accredited special hospital; outpatient medical and dental clinics; adult day center; private nonprofit school; five adult group homes; and the award-winning fine arts program – Arts Access. Matheny patients live with multiple medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of other rare disease including Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and 4Q Deletion syndrome. For more information, visit www.matheny.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram: @mathenymedical. 

A Statement from Matheny’s President and CEO

Dear Matheny Community:

These troubling times have underscored the racial, economic, and health injustices that people of color face in the US and around the world.  We fully support the #BlackLivesMatter movement and condemn injustices and discrimination on the basis of color, sex, or ability.  We also stand with the peaceful protestors who are exercising their rights thanks to the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Having lived through the civil rights movement and having served poor black families as a pediatrician, I am especially affected by current events. Systemic racism in healthcare exists and causes health disparities that are rampant in the black community.  Systemic racism also adversely affects black families when it comes to housing, food security and education.  Now is the time to stand up against all types of discrimination and try to lift each other up.

Over 74 years ago, Matheny was founded on the basis that there were very few educational opportunities for people with disabilities.  Today, Matheny is a comprehensive non-profit hospital and school where people of all races, economic status, and abilities are cared for with the love and respect they deserve.  We are proud of the diversity of our staff and we are committed to continue our efforts to combat racism on all levels. Matheny stands in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of the end of systemic racism.

Dr

Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD

President and CEO

The Continued Importance of Infection Control

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Matheny remains committed to keeping our patients and staff safe and healthy. Dr. Vincent Barba, our Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, has several recommendations (informed by CDC and World Health Organization guidelines) to help us continue to minimize the spread of the virus in our communities.

Matheny will continue to:

  • Screen our employees in order to effectively keep our workforce healthy 
  • Practice transparent infection prevention practices
  • Keep Matheny clean and the environment safe
  • Wear procedure masks at all times at Matheny
  • Practice excellent hand hygiene
  • Practice social distancing as much as possible on our campus
  • Work to maintain our supply chain of personal protective equipment

We encourage safety practices in our homes and lives outside of Matheny as well. You can protect your communities and loved ones by:

  • Maintaining social distancing in public
  • Wearing a cloth mask in public
  • Keeping your hands clean at all times
  • Staying home as much as possible, especially if you do not feel well
  • Staying out of crowds
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes

Both at Matheny and across the state of New Jersey, we have made real gains in managing this pandemic – but it’s not over yet. We hope you’ll help us continue this vigilance until the pandemic reaches its end.

A Very Special Miles for Matheny: June 13 – 20

Spring is a usually a busy and wonderful season at Matheny. The weather is warm and welcoming. Our campus is green and full of flowers. Fun activities take place outside.

photo credit - Linda E. Horton

We all know that this spring has been different – and difficult. Although we are confident that there will be light at the end of this tunnel, a great deal of work still needs to be done before that time, and the health and safety of our patients and staff remain our top priorities. With this in mind, we will not be holding an in-person gathering for Miles for Matheny 2020. We’re very disappointed – this annual gathering with families, friends, and neighbors is one of the highlights of our year. We will sorely miss seeing you in person, but hope you will join us for a  new and special Virtual Miles for Matheny 2020!

The fundamentals of the event have not changed. We will still come together as a community to celebrate the incredible work done at Matheny. You can still run or cycle (while social distancing!) for us, if you wish. And, as usual, every dollar raised will go directly to our programs and services – medical care, education, physical therapy, music therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, fine arts, and much more. You can learn more at our Miles for Matheny website, and look out for further updates by email and social media!

Even in these past few challenging weeks, we have seen plenty of things that are worth celebrating. Each and every day, our frontline staff – our healthcare heroes – give us reason for immense hope and gratitude, even amid our fear and anxiety. Matheny would not be Matheny without them. And we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them, even if it has to be from afar.

      To our devoted frontline employees and precious patients we lost – this Miles is for you.

State of Diversity: In Pursuit of Good Health for All New Jerseyans

On April 3rd, 2020, New Jersey Business Magazine discussed the challenges of meeting the healthcare needs of diverse populations. Thanks to the NJ Hospital Association, the piece highlighted the inclusion efforts of several health organizations around the state, including Matheny:

“Inclusion is also the goal for other populations, including those living with disabilities. The Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack promotes diversity and inclusion by providing people with disabilities opportunities to engage in their communities through initiatives like its Miles for Matheny Wheelchair Walk and its Brave Bag partnerships with several police departments.”

Click here to read the full article. 

Coronavirus Letter to the Matheny Community

Delta Dental NJ Grant Brings a “SMILE” to Matheny

NEWS RELEASE

High quality dental care at Matheny

Dr. Hunt and nurse Graciela help Chris with his winning smile!

Delta Dental Foundation Grant Brings a “SMILE” to People with Special Needs

January 21, 2020, Peapack, NJ — People with special needs who need great dental care are smiling thanks to a generous $45,000 SMILE grant award from the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. The SMILE grant will help Matheny’s Dental Center continue its long tradition of comprehensive, safe and effective dental care for individuals with medically complex developmental disabilities.

What makes Matheny’s Dental Clinic unique? Matheny has the equipment, space and expertise to deliver high-quality dental care to individuals with special needs. Meeting the oral health care needs of this population can be difficult. Associated conditions such as dysphagia impact oral health, and behavioral challenges are common among those with developmental disabilities. The Delta Dental SMILE grant will allow Matheny to continue offering a designated PCA (Personal Care Assistant)/Transporter to bring patients to procedures in a safe, timely manner and keep them informed and calm during delivery of care. The grant will also allow Matheny to upgrade its Imaging Plate System to improve the quality and efficiency of dental imaging, and a new Piezo Scaler for more effective cleaning, disease prevention and treatment. The more precise, less invasive and quieter equipment will positively impact patients with sensory issues.

Dr. Melanie Hunt and Dr. Joseph Maggio are Matheny’s full-time dentists who have many years of experience in treating and caring for this special population. Dr. Hunt said, “We are proud of the services we offer because we take a holistic approach to dental medicine. We offer transportation, a dedicated Personal Care Assistant, knowledgeable staff and medications; but most importantly, we ensure the safety and comfort of the patient during their dental visit.”

The Dental Center at Matheny has been operating since 2001 thanks to the generous support of Delta Dental of New Jersey. Matheny’s Dental Center has treated thousands of patients with special needs and has been successful in improving oral healthcare for this vulnerable population.

“Matheny remains committed to providing quality dental care to the developmentally disabled and as such is grateful for the partnerships in the community that have allowed us to continue our mission and enhance our services to meet the needs of those we serve,” says Vincent Barba, MD, FACP, FHM, CPPS, Matheny Vice President – Patient Care and Safety, Chief Medical Officer & Safety Officer.

Delta Dental of New Jersey, the state’s largest dental coverage provider, began offering dental programs in 1969. Delta Dental of New Jersey now provides or administers dental coverage to more than 1.7 million people in New Jersey and Connecticut. Each year, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation awards nearly $1 million in grants in New Jersey and Connecticut to provide dental care to underserved children, developmentally disabled persons, seniors and veterans.

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About Matheny: Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is headquartered in Somerset County. It was founded in 1946 after Walter and Marguerite Matheny’s son, Chuck, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) into a world ill-equipped to care for children with special needs. Matheny patients have a diverse range of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of other rare diseases including Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Wolf-Hirshorn syndrome and 4Q Deletion syndrome. For more information, visit https://matheny.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram: @mathenymedical.

 

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