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Social Workers are Integral to Care Team at Christian Health

Christian Health (CHCC) celebrated National Social Work Month in March and honored its Social Work Council and the 30 social workers who are on staff to recognizing their daily work of providing support for CHCC’s residents, patients, clients, consumers, and their families. The National Association of Social Workers is a professional organization of social workers throughout the United States. This year the NASW celebrated its 61st anniversary and following the theme, “Forging Solutions Out of Challenges.” The theme was selected to celebrate the work of Social Worker Pioneer Frances Perkins and all social workers who improve lives. Ms. Perkins witnessed a terrible factory fire in 1911 in New York City in which most of the 146 works perished, most of them young immigrant women and children. The horrific fire inspired Ms. Perkins to use her social-work skills to try to prevent future tragedies. She became the first female Secretary of Labor under President Roosevelt. Her actions led to safer working conditions.

CHCC values its social workers and all staff all year long, but National Social Work Month gave the social-work staff a chance to share information about their profession with others and enjoy special events throughout the month.

Social workers are an integral part of care provided in virtually all of CHCC’s programs and are valuable members of the interdisciplinary team of professionals who care for those we serve. At Heritage Manor Nursing Home and Southgate behavior-management unit, social workers help newly admitted residents and their families adjust to living in a long-term care environment and address any concerns that they have. Once the residents settle in, social workers provide ongoing support and also work closely with family members to address any issues that may arise.

In The David F. Bolger Post-acute Care Unit, patients are often admitted after a hospitalization, with the goal of transitioning back to the place they call home healthy and safe. Social workers are among members of the care team who help determine when patients are ready to be discharged, and also attend to any concerns they have as patients on the unit.

Social workers are also valued members of the care teams at Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wayne and Wyckoff. They provide support for the clients and their families. Adult day services provide families with the ability to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible. Clients enjoy activities, nursing services, and door-to-door transportation, while families receive much-needed respite. When additional care is required, social workers will work with families to help them transition to assisted living or other long-term care programs.

Social workers are also very important members of the care team in the Mental Health Services Division. In fact, nationally, social workers are the biggest group of mental-health providers, helping patients to overcome a variety of disorders. Many of the therapists and the Director of LiveWell Counseling are licensed clinical social workers, and a social worker on staff at the Ramapo Ridge Partial-hospitalization Program. Social workers are also instrumental in providing care to patients at Ramapo Ridge Behavioral Health, as well as supporting their families during times of crisis. Additionally, the Pastoral Care Director at CHCC is a licensed clinical social worker and is another valuable resource to patients, residents, and families.

“My family was a foster family for infants that were unable to go home with their parents from the hospital due to unsafe circumstances,” said Elyse Fritzsch, LCSW, a Social Worker at Ramapo Ridge Behavioral Health. “Through this experience I was able to learn what a social worker does in the field. When I was searching for colleges and trying to figure out what I wanted to do, my mother arranged for me to interview a social worker who worked for the foster care agency. That meeting helped me decide. I finally had a name for a profession that I was interested in and a way to use the gifts I felt I had been given. I have never doubted my decision. It’s simply a profession I feel called to do.”

For more information on the Social Work Department at CHCC, call (201) 848-4463 or email