State-of-the-art Hersh Children’s Center will bring together pediatric care at Overlook Medical Center

Overlook Medical Center in Summit recently marked the completion of the Hersh Children’s Center, a newly built facility that centralizes the hospital’s pediatric emergency and inpatient services in one convenient, family-friendly space.

The new, nearly 12,000-square-foot center brings together the Meri and Sol Barer Inpatient Pediatric Center (formerly housed on Overlook’s sixth floor) and the Michael Gordon Reeves Pediatric Emergency Department, for better coordinated care of patients ages 0-21.

The new center, including the pediatric emergency department, is expected to begin treating patients in the coming weeks.

Overlook President Stephanie Schwartz said the center will have impact.

“We are honored to at last be able to provide our young patients and their families with the highest quality of care in a space designed specifically for them,” she said. “This state-of-the-art facility gives us a home for the future of pediatric care at Overlook — one that truly complements the experienced care team and advanced technology that serve our patients at Overlook.”

Dr. Walter Rosenfeld, chair of pediatrics at Overlook Medical Center and medical director of children’s health for Atlantic Health System, agreed.

“This combined and innovative approach to pediatric care is one of only a few of its kind in the northern New Jersey region,” he said. “By bringing emergency and inpatient pediatric services together, we can dramatically reduce the time between an emergency department visit to an inpatient room for children requiring hospitalization. It will also improve continuity of care by having clinical teams dedicated to patients from the moment they enter, through every stage of their experience.”

When it comes to childhood emergencies, the new pediatric emergency department is fully equipped to handle the full range of pediatric conditions, with streamlined care to ease stress on the family, Overlook officials said.

For patients who require a stay, the new inpatient unit offers comforting special touches, such as sleep accommodations for parents, family lounges and a play area with skylights and plentiful windows.

In addition, the new center includes the following:

  • Nine inpatient rooms, including two isolation rooms and Liam’s Room for patients with serious chronic conditions or life-limiting illnesses;
  • Eight emergency department rooms staffed by pediatric emergency physicians, pediatric subspecialists and pediatric nurses;
  • One flexible room for emergency department patients or inpatients;
  • In-room accommodations for parents to stay the night with their children;
  • Numerous structural and design elements to enhance safety, comfort and security for patients and families.

The Hersh Children’s Center will be connected to 100 pediatric specialists who provide advanced expertise, both at Overlook and throughout Atlantic Health System.

The Hersh Children’s Center is 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.

“The children’s center is a project near and dear to our hearts,” Hersh Foundation administrator Harriet Donnelly said. “We have been thrilled to partner with Overlook on a project that will raise the standard of pediatric emergency and inpatient care in our area.”

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 the latest phase of a plan to transform the hospital, which includes new structures, redesigned spaces and additional upgrades. Prior to the children’s center, Overlook opened its new employee parking garage, as well as its new Bouras Emergency Department entrance. Expanded wings on Overlook’s seventh and eighth floors were completed and opened in 2020, with the new seventh floor wing, 7 East, temporarily used as a dedicated COVID treatment unit during the state-designated health emergency.

In the midst of the pandemic, hospital construction officials implemented another innovation — reengineering ventilation systems, giving the facility the ability to utilize outdoor air for full circulation throughout the Hersh Children’s Center and Bouras Emergency Department.