“Christian Health Care Center is where I finally started to get better!”

“Christian Health Care Center (CHCC),” Jorge Morales says, “gave me my life back.”

The 46-year-old was on the edge. His physical, mental, and spiritual health were in jeopardy. A work injury left him in extreme pain. Depression set in, and he questioned his faith. The path to his health, healing, and wellness was guided by Christian Health Care Center’s mental-health and short-term rehab services.

“God heard me and brought me to Christian Health Care Center, where I got the care that I needed,” Mr. Morales says.

Five years ago, a work injury caused severe damage to Mr. Morales’ back and spine. Three surgeries, botox injections, and rehabilitation at three outpatient facilities failed to provide the North Haledon resident with relief.

“I had so much pain in my lower back. My body grew worse and worse. It got to the point where I wasn’t able to move,” he says. “I was so depressed and stressed that I tried to commit suicide. I was brought to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson and then transferred to Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital (RRPH) at Christian Health Care Center. That is where I finally started to get better.”

At RRPH, a multidisciplinary team including a psychiatrist, nurses, social worker, activity therapists, dietitian, and chaplain created a treatment plan for Mr. Morales. Individual and group therapy, education, pastoral care, and medication started the healing process for his mental health. Two weeks later, he was discharged and began his physical healing on CHCC’s short-term rehab unit. The program is beneficial for individuals like Mr. Morales who were hospitalized for surgery, as well as those who have had a joint replacement; are recovering from a stroke, cardiac surgery, or pneumonia; or have a chronic illness, such as cardiac disease, renal disease, or diabetes. The program’s multidisciplinary care team includes physicians, nurses, rehabilitation therapists, dietitian, social worker, activity therapists, and chaplain.

In the 14,000-square-foot Bolger Gym & Wellness Center, Mr. Morales focused on building strength through a treatment plan developed by Donna Marie DePhillips, MD, CHCC’s physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, in conjunction with physical therapists. Exercising on technologically advanced equipment strengthened leg, hand, and arm muscles, and improved his balance and coordination.

“At first, I struggled to stand up, but then every day my body got stronger and stronger, and I started to walk again. I did exercises at CHCC that I didn’t do in the other rehabilitation facilities,” Mr. Morales says.

In CHCC’s unique Transitional Care Suite, occupational therapists taught Mr. Morales how to carry out activities of daily living (ADL). The suite, which includes a kitchen/dining area, family room, laundry room, bedroom, and bathroom, offers patients a chance to relearn daily activities in a safe, private environment.

While on the short-term rehab unit, Mr. Morales’ mental health continued to heal through the camaraderie that tends to develop among patients.

“I became friends with a lot of the other people on the unit. I made them laugh, and they made me laugh,” Mr. Morales says. “I saw a change not only in me, but in them, too. It was humbling.”

After 30 days, Mr. Morales was strong enough to go home.

“I appreciated all the care I received at Christian Health Care Center,” Mr. Morales says. “Now I can say that life is beautiful.”

For more information about Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital or short-term rehab, call Karen Hockstein at (201) 848-4463, email khockstein@chccnj.org, or visit ChristianHealthCare.org.

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