CONTACT: M. “Peggy” Salisbury 908-771-5730;
Norma T. Sheld 908-771-5815


Social Work Month Celebrated at Runnells Specialized Hospital
 with a session of T'ai Chi Chih

Social Work Month
Siobhan Hutchinson demonstrated one of the movements involved in T’ai Chi Chih for the staff of RUNNELLS Social Work Services Department. The session entitled “Joy thru Movement for persons of any age or physical ability.” Left to Right - (Back Row) Elke Graf, LSW (Licensed Social Worker); Laura Smith, LSW; Kathleen Balascio, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker); Lorna Vliet, LSW; Tish Isack, LSW; Sandra Adour, LCSW, Director, Social Work Services; Patrick O’Hara, MSW (Master of Social Work) and Ellen McNamara, LSW.
(Front Row) Doris Doerrer, LSW; Tammy Figueiredo, LSW; Liz Migneco, LCSW and Anne Dobb, LCSW.

The celebration of Social Work Month at RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County in Berkeley Heights included a session of T'ai Chi Chih for staff, residents, patients and their families led by Siobhan Hutchinson, an accredited T’ai Chi Chih teacher with Atlantic Private Care who sponsored the session.

T’ai Chi Chih, a moving meditation can be done by persons of any age or physical ability. That made it perfect for the social work month celebration since staff, patients and residents, whether in wheelchairs or not could take part. The experience is truly joy thru movement for persons of any age or physical ability.

“The social workers at RUNNELLS emphasize taking the whole person into consideration,” said Union County Freeholder Chester Holmes, RUNNELLS’ liaison. “The focus for this year’s Social Work Month was building on strengths. As we get older, we may not have some of the abilities we once did, but there are still strengths there that can be worked on and increased. It’s been said that, through practice, even the immunity can get a boost from activities such as T’ai Chi Chih routines which don’t require a particular level of physical fitness or coordination.”

The mission of RUNNELLS professional social workers in both long and short-term nursing care and behavioral health units is to promote and enhance the quality of life for residents and patients. The presentation of T’ai Chi Chih was a unique way to realize that mission.

Professional social workers are assigned to every person receiving care at Runnells SpecializedHospital. They perform a broad range of services that may include:

• orienting them to available services and rights
• providing ongoing counseling and advocacy/referral services throughout their stay
• coordinating outreach services to families
• facilitating support groups
• providing crisis management services
• assisting staff to understand the personal needs of clients
• coordinating discharge services, including referrals to necessary community services
• assisting residents and their families to cope with the adjustment of moving into Runnells

“Social workers are an important part of the RUNNELLS care teams that strive to promote the highest level of physical, social and psychological functioning for those who come to the facility for care,” Freeholder Holmes added. “My thanks to all of them for the excellent work that they do.”

RUNNELLS, which is situated on a 45-acre mountain top tract of land in Berkeley Heights that offers breathtaking, panoramic views of the Watchung Mountains, is easily accessible from Routes 22, 24, and 78. The facility is located at 40 Watchung Way. Call 908-771-5700 for information about the facility.