Albany Medical Center has plans to construct the region’s first Pediatric Emergency Department. It will be the only one of its kind in northeastern New York and western New England, officials said.
The four-story, 70,500-square-foot Pediatric Emergency Department, expected to be completed late 2018, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Located adjacent to the current Emergency Department, it will provide a setting designed specifically for the needs of children and their families, and offer access to the full range of pediatric specialists.
James J. Barba, president and CEO of Albany Med, and Dr. Christopher King, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine, were joined by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and other government leaders, as well as donors to the initiative and five-year-old Aedan Conway, a pediatric heart patient who has required emergency care, in a ceremonial groundbreaking in Albany Med’s recently completed Patient Pavilion.
“Building this Pediatric Emergency Department represents our steadfast commitment to provide the highest quality, most comprehensive and most appropriate health care to the children in our region,” said Barba. “Over the past 30 years, our children’s hospital has attracted expert and compassionate pediatric physicians and surgeons from around the world so children from our region can receive treatment for a variety of conditions and traumas without having to travel far from home. Now, our children will be able to receive that emergency care in a ‘place of their own.’”
Hospital officials said that annually, there are nearly 16,000 pediatric visits to Albany Med’s Emergency Department. Some 80 percent of the children are treated and released, while 20 percent are admitted to the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med.
Features of the Pediatric Emergency Department will include:
• Triage area to immediately assess the severity of illness or injury.
• Fast-track unit for children and teens with less serious conditions.
• Observation unit for stays up to 23 hours.
• Private rooms designed for the safety and comfort of children and parents.
• On-site X-ray and imaging.
• Negative pressure rooms for suspected contagious disease.
• Peaceful and child-friendly décor and child-size equipment.
• Games, toys and television to provide a distraction for children.
• Valet parking.
• Easy access for ambulances.
• Nearby rooftop medical helicopter pad.
In addition, the facility will be staffed with physicians, nurses and mid-level providers trained in pediatric emergency medicine.
The $50 million project will be funded by loans and donations, including $20 million in philanthropic funding for development and support of the Pediatric Emergency Department Albany Med will seek. The project already has received support from the community, including state Assembly members Patricia Fahy and John McDonald.
Fahy said, “The families of our region will truly benefit from this new Emergency Department focused on children and their families to help ensure expert care in the most appropriate setting at the most critical of times for these families. I’m grateful for Albany Med’s leadership in delivering this critically needed service to our children.”
McDonald said he, along with Fahy and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie “have been a strong proponents of this effort, since a visit to the Emergency Department can be traumatic for any individual regardless of age. However, our youngest citizens can find it to be an especially intimidating and stressful experience.”
He said Med receives over 76,000 patient visits a year, 16,000 of which are pediatric patients. “The new Pediatric Emergency Department at Albany Med seeks to provide a therapeutic setting for our children and at the same time bring the hospital and medical college’s resources to one location to enhance the care patients receive.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said the addition of a pediatric Emergency Department “will be an extraordinary benefit to the residents of both the city of Albany and our region as a whole. Providing a separate and appropriate venue to care for children in trauma is a service offered by only the most advanced institutions and, on behalf of the city of Albany, I’m grateful to Albany Med for its commitment to providing our children with easy access to care in a suitable setting.”
“The Pediatric Emergency Department will be a place where parents can bring their children with complete confidence that they’ll get the best care possible, but also that they’ll have the best experience for kids possible,” said Christopher King, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Albany Med.
Excavation on the site will begin later this spring after the demolition of the P-Building, which formerly held the Emergency Department’s administrative offices, and the completion of other construction preparation work.
Consigli Construction Co. Inc. of Milford, Mass., is managing construction of the Pediatric Emergency Department and Hyman Hayes Associates in Albany is the architect for the project.