The Matheny Medical and Educational Center
The Matheny Medical and Educational Center is a special hospital for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities . . . a special education school providing academics, combined with functional life skills, for students, ages 3-21 . . . a comprehensive outpatient center meeting the health care needs of people with all types of disabilities in the community . . . and a teaching hospital developing ways to train healthcare professionals, therapists and educators in how to work with persons who have developmental disabilities.
Matheny's main campus in Peapack, NJ, is home to 101 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Its five group homes, located in Somerset and Warren counties, provide a residence in the community for an additional 30 adults. Many of the children and adults currently at Matheny, in addition to their primary diagnoses, have a long list of associated clinical conditions such as vision and hearing deficits, seizure disorders, mental retardation and dysphagia, with resulting aspiration problems.
While the great majority of Matheny patients have cerebral palsy as their primary diagnoses, Matheny also has patients with spina bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of uncommon conditions including Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Wolf-Hirshorn syndrome and 4Q Deletion syndrome. Lesch-Nyhan Disease is a rare x-linked recessive disorder associated with cognitive impairment, high levels of uric acid in the blood, kidney involvement and the hallmark symptom -- severe and involuntary self-injurious behaviors. Matheny is recognized as the leading source of information on care issues regarding LND.
The increased need for care of patients with these types of medically complex conditions has made it imperative that Matheny expand in order to reach out to families who have nowhere else to turn. Among planned renovations at an expanded and modernized Matheny are: a new pediatric wing, increasing the capacity to 140 beds; the conversion of three-bedroom rooms to more home-like two-bedded rooms; and construction of a modern special education school containing spacious, student-friendly, fully accessible classrooms.
Matheny is also committed to spreading its expertise into the community. For example:
•The Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, our outpatient clinic, provides services to people with disabilities from 12 New Jersey counties.
•Matheny's therapists, teachers, social workers, psychologists, nutritionists and nurses participate in the Somerset, Morris and Hunterdon County Special Child Health Services Early Intervention Programs.
•Matheny is now offering its skills and experience to public school districts on a consultative basis in order to help them better manage the challenges of educating special needs students.