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Emergency Department to Double in Size Creating One of the State’s Largest Pediatric EDs

December 1, 2012 Saint Peter's Healthcare System Community Calendar Featured Article.

Saint Peter’s Healthcare System has begun an exciting expansion of the Emergency Department at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. The renovation and construction project, which will be done in five phases, calls for almost doubling the size of the adult and pediatric emergency departments from 18,000 square feet to approximately 29,000 square feet. The new Emergency Department will be large enough to accommodate 70,000 to 75,000 patients a year, creating shorter wait times while giving patients the space and privacy they deserve.

Artist rendering of the new Saint Peter’s University Hospital Emergency Department.

Artist rendering of the new Saint Peter’s University Hospital Emergency Department.

During Phase I, which is underway, a new and expanded Pediatric Emergency Department will be constructed along with a new front entrance to the Emergency Department. This renovation will create one of the largest pediatric emergency departments in New Jersey, with 14 beds plus a minor care area. The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, which provides advanced and comprehensive, specialized services to infants and children, is a state-designated children’s hospital. The new front entrance will include a redesigned visitors’ area, a new area for walk-in patients, and a new and expanded entrance for ambulances that will also increase ambulance parking.

The work will be done in stages with no disruptions to services, explains Michael Hochberg, MD, chairman of Emergency Medicine. As each stage is completed, the newly designed areas are expected to be opened immediately. “Patient care will not be affected in any way, at any time,” he says.

Today’s Emergency Department dates back to the 1970s when about 40,000 patients were seen in a year.

Specially-trained medical providers use Over the years, the number of patients has grown to approximately 60,000 patients, including those treated by the staff of the hospital’s Stroke Program. As a designated primary stroke center, the hospital is staffed by a specialized stroke team that includes emergency physicians, neurologists and nurses with special training in acute stroke management who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, Saint Peter’s provides emergency angioplasty for patients who come to the Emergency Department during a heart attack.

“Ultimately, it’s all about patient care,” Dr. Hochberg says. “We already see patients effectively, safely and privately, but it can get cramped. This is going to open up the department and create a more patient-friendly environment.”

During Phase 2, the Emergency Department will gain new adult and pediatric “fast-track” rooms as well as additional treatment beds. More treatment space will be added through Phases 3, 4, and 5. The renovations will also create three treatment “pods,” each of which will focus on separate treatment areas: acute care, women’s health, and rapid-treatment. The acute- care bay will be designed to treat emergency situations such as heart attack and stroke. Conditions such as early pregnancy complications and OB/GYN emergencies will be treated in the women’s health area. The rapid- treatment section will provide more speedy services such as IV fluids and X-ray imaging, enabling patients to return home quickly and safely.

When the work is completed in about two-and-a-half years, the Saint Peter’s Emergency Department will hold 56 beds. The vast majority will be four- walled private rooms with a small number of so-called “curtained rooms.” The entire Emergency Department – from equipment to flooring – will be brand-new.

“Privacy, speed and comfort are really what we are going for,” adds Heather Veltre, RN, administrative director, Emergency Services. “Patients want to be seen right away, be cared for by skilled and courteous staff in a nice environment, and be able to go home faster.”

Visit for more information about services at Saint Peter’s University Hospital or call 732-745-8600.