OLD BRIDGE – Executives broke ground on a new $39 million emergency department at the Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center Old Bridge on Monday, ushering in a new focus of care for the communities the facility serves.
The upgraded facility will be 24,000 square feet, more than double the current size.
"This expansion will allow us to serve more patients with cardiac issues, stroke, trauma, and other core services,” William DiStanislao, vice president, operations and executive site director, Raritan Bay-Old Bridge, said last week.
The expanded department will also add a separate and dedicated pediatric area and a crisis unit for behavioral patients.
Chief Hospital Executive Thomas Shanahan called additions like the dedicated pediatric area and behavioral health unit important to addressing community needs.
“I think it’s important,” he said adding that a lot of younger people are moving into the community. “We’re not going to have inpatient pediatrics, but having a [emergency department] pediatrics will help the community.”
The crisis behavioral unit will help to better address the needs of those patients, Shanahan said. The crisis unit would help patients dealing with alcohol abuse, depression, or other behavioral issues in a more private setting. If in-patient care is needed the patient would be transferred to the facility in Perth Amboy.
Additionally, Shanahan said, “one of the exciting things,” is private rooms with a door for patients, “so you won’t be able to hear a neighbor, another patient in the bay next to you.”
The rooms will also have electronic boards that will display information about care and staff who visited for physicians, which is displayed when they enter the room.
“[Patients] are at their weakest moment,” said Shanahan, “and it’s our job to provide the electronic resources and the tools that are necessary to get them better care, quicker care, and get them out of the [emergency department] as fast as possible.”
The $39 million project is expected to take two years to complete over five phases. The department will remain open during construction.
The expansion will also include an imaging program, a larger waiting room, reception area, new main lobby and concourse, and a retail pharmacy. The new concourse will connect the hospital’s three buildings, allow for staff and patients to more easily travel within the facility.
Once completed the annual visit capacity will increase from 25,000 to 40,000 with 29 total rooms for patients.
“At Hackensack Meridian Health, our focus is to provide the best health care experience possible and today we see Raritan Bay Medical Center is doing just that by creating an accessible brand new emergency care facility,” said Robert C. Garrett, CEO Hackensack Meridian Health.