The Perfect Gift for Giving Tuesday 2017

The world outside our walls is just as important to patient well-being as our facility itself.

If you could go anywhere on a community outing of your choice, where would you go?

For our patients, the answers are as individual as they are.

For Chris, whose passions include baseball and meeting new people, he would accept more shifts at his job as a vendor at TDBank Ballpark, home of the Somerset Patriots.

For Jessica, who enjoys shopping, she would engage in a bit of retail therapy at the Bridgewater Mall.

Melvin R

For Melvin, a foodie, he would savor a meal at one of the hot new restaurants on the local culinary scene.

At Matheny, our commitment to our patients goes beyond providing high quality medical care and education. We also seek to enrich lives through making recreational opportunities and community outings as accessible as possible. While group outings are the norm, rarely do patients get to choose and embark upon personal outings most important to them due to lack of individualized transportation options.

The addition of a wheel chair accessible van would change that. No longer would patients be limited to large vehicles operated by commercially licensed drivers. Patients and their Recreation Therapists could together plan more frequent, meaningful community trips specific to patients’ needs that would delight and empower them, increase their visibility and role within the community, perhaps even unlock their potential.

In a hospital that also serves as their home, many opportunities are available for group activities and trips into the community with fellow patients. But how often do patients get the opportunity to take an individualized trip?

“The reality is, that doesn’t happen very often,” says Sean Bielefeldt, Director of Recreation Therapy & Adult Day Health Services. “But the addition of a wheel chair accessible minivan would mean such opportunities, both recreational and practical, would flourish for our patients.”

Take Chris, for instance. It had long been Chris’s dream to work in or around baseball, and one of his greatest pleasures is his job at TD Bank Ballpark, home to the Somerset Patriots. For __ years he has worked as a vendor serving refreshments. Amidst sounds like the crack of the bat and roar of the crowd and the smell of freshly popped popcorn, Chris enjoys interacting with fans who share his abiding love of the game. Most of all, he relishes the freedom and inclusiveness of being an active member of his community, and the pride of earning a wage for an honest day’s work.

While his family can sometimes provide a ride to work, this is not a permanent solution. For him and others like him, the addition of a wheel chair accessible minivan would make a huge difference in the quality of their lives through increasing access to the community, which would create unprecedented opportunities for personal and therapeutic advancement.

For many patients at Matheny, residing there is not a life-long prospect. “The goal for our patients is to live in the community,” explains Sean. “How better to prepare those individuals than to work with them within the community itself to develop skills and independence such as navigating curb cut outs, crossing the streets, utilizing public transportation, or making a bank deposit?” In this way, a wheel chair accessible van is not just another vehicle, but an invaluable tool for therapists to create opportunities for patient development, growth, and eventual independence.

The world outside our walls is just as important to patient well-being as our facility itself.

Whether it’s the opportunity to see their favorite band in concert, take in a movie they’ve been anticipating, get to work at their dream job, or find their place within our community, a wheel chair accessible mini-van will open up a world of possibilities for our patients.

Please join us this #Giving Tuesday to make those possibilities a reality for those we serve. Click below to help us give the perfect gift:

2017 #GT Lock Up_0

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