June 19, 2007

CONTACT: M. "Peggy" Salisbury (908) 771-5730
Norma T. Sheld (908) 771-5815


Occupational Therapy Staff
of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital Honored

ot staff
Union County Freeholder Chester Holmes (seated, left) read a resolution from the Board of Chosen Freeholders to members of RUNNELLS Occupational Therapy staff. Enjoying the compliments to his OT staff was Joseph W. Sharp, MS, LNHA, Administrator (seated, right). Present to listen to the resolution were: BACK ROW (L-R): Bridget Roughneen of Mountainside, Occupational Therapy Aide; Jennifer Srenaski of High Bridge, Registered Occupational Therapist, OTR; Catherine Boyer of Cranford, OTR, Director of Occupational Therapy; Lisa Lacon, OTR; Daisy Lawrence, Occupational Therapy Aide; Catherine A. Zambito of Cranford, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA, and Charles Muhando of North Plainfield, OTR. MIDDLE ROW (L-R): Judi Errico of Scotch Plains, (kneeling), COTA; Tiffany Joy Ocana of Scotch Plains, OTR; Shital Shah of Piscataway, OTR and Josephine Clapcich of Stirling, OTR.

As part of Occupational Therapy Month, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presented the Occupational Therapy (OT) staff of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County with a resolution honoring them for the outstanding and dedicated services that they provide to the facility’s patients and residents.

Freeholder Chester Holmes stated that the team approach is a key factor in the superb care given by the Occupational Therapy staff at RUNNELLS. “Together with the efforts of the other therapies: Physical, Activities and Speech, the results of the RUNNELLS’ team enable the facility to rate substantially higher than the national average for discharging rehabilitation patients back to the community (based upon a nationally recognized rehabilitation survey company),” Freeholder Holmes said.

“Occupational therapy is a series of skilled treatments that help individuals achieve the greatest level of independence possible,” Holmes stated. “Customized treatment programs are designed to improve the person’s ability to do daily tasks. Comprehensive home evaluations may be done and adaptation recommendations made; performance skills assessments and treatment; adaptive equipment recommendations and usage training as well as guidance to family members and caregivers.”

Registered Occupational Therapists or OTR’s need a Master’s Degree and six months of internship experience. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants or COTA’s have an Associate’s Degree and six months of internship experience.

Occupational Therapy provides services to individuals whose abilities to cope with the tasks of everyday living are threatened or impaired by developmental deficits, the aging process, poverty, cultural differences, physical injury or disease or psychological and social disability.

OT’s goal is to help individuals to achieve and maintain the maximum level of independent functioning possible in their particular daily activities; including self-care; play/leisure and work activities whether it be school or employment; or home and family management.

Individuals who can benefit from occupational therapy include:

  • those with work-related injuries including lower back problems or repetitive stress injuries;
  • limitations following a stroke or heart attack; arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or other serious chronic conditions;
  • joint replacements; spinal cord injuries, or amputations;
  • broken bones or other injuries from falls, sports injuries, or accidents and vision or cognitive problems that threaten their ability to drive;
  • mental health or behavioral problems including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress as well as problems with substance abuse or eating disorders.

”The Freeholders were pleased to award a resolution to RUNNELLS’ occupational therapists, commending them for their outstanding service. Our thanks for their contribution in making RUNNELLS such an outstanding facility,” Freeholder Holmes added.

RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital is located at 40 Watchung Way in Berkeley Heights. If you would like to know more about the occupational therapy services or any of the facility’s other programs call 908-771-5700.