SUMMIT, NJ – FEBRUARY 2023 – The Hersh Children’s Center, located at Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center, marked its first anniversary of providing pediatric emergency and inpatient services in one convenient, family-friendly space.
Following completion in late 2021, the 12,000 square-foot center opened in January 2022, combining the Meri and Sol Barer Inpatient Pediatric Center (formerly housed on Overlook’s sixth floor) and the Michael Gordon Reeves Pediatric Emergency Department, to provide better coordinated care of patients, ages 0-21.
“Over the course of a year we are proud to have become the place that families throughout the region turn to for superb children’s care and a supportive environment,” said Stephanie Schwartz, president of Overlook Medical Center.
In the year since its opening, the center has streamlined care for thousands of children and families who came to Overlook for high-quality pediatric care. The center had nearly 14,000 patient visits in the emergency department, and admitted 768 patients. The inpatient unit saw a 66% increase in the average daily census and an 8% increase in total admissions compared to the prior year.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, combined with burgeoning cases of other respiratory conditions like flu and RSV throughout the pediatric population in 2022 – at times reaching record volumes of more than 80 pediatric emergency department patients per day – the team at the Hersh Children’s Center worked tirelessly to provide patients and families the care they needed as quickly and safely as possible. For example, the inpatient team quickly implemented the use of high-flow nasal cannula – a device that delivers additional oxygen or airflow for patients in need of respiratory help - to stabilize patients awaiting transfer to pediatric and neonatal ICUs during the recent surge.
The Hersh Children’s Center includes nine inpatient rooms, including two isolation rooms and Liam’s Room for patients with serious chronic conditions or life-limiting illnesses. Rooms include accommodations for parents to stay overnight with their children. The pediatric emergency department includes eight rooms staffed by pediatric emergency physicians, pediatric subspecialists and pediatric nurses.
The Hersh Children’s Center is supported by a round-the-clock pediatric emergency department physician, as well as dedicated and specially trained nurses in pediatric emergency and inpatient nursing care with pediatric board certification.
The Hersh Children’s Center is seamlessly connected to 100 pediatric specialists who provide advanced expertise, both at Overlook and throughout Atlantic Health System. The center is also seamlessly connected to Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown.
The Hersh Children’s Center was funded, in part, by a $2 million grant from the Dorothy B. Hersh Foundation. Established in 1979 to fulfill the wishes of the late Dorothy B. Hersh, the Hersh Foundation provides grants for capital expenditures benefiting the needs of hundreds of thousands of children throughout the state of New Jersey. A $2.5 million pledge from the Nicholas J. and Anna K. Bouras Foundation funded the relocation of the Michael Gordon Reeves Pediatric Emergency Department, as well as additional adult emergency patient rooms.
The Hersh Children’s Center is part of Overlook Ahead, the ongoing campaign to renovate and upgrade the hospital campus. In addition to the construction of the children’s center, the hospital is significantly upgrading the hospital’s maternity center, as well as expanding its suite of operating rooms. For more information on the Overlook Ahead campaign, visit https://overlookfoundation.org/overlook-ahead/.