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Friday, November 7, 2008 - SJH Elmer Hospital Opens New and Expanded Emergency Room

 ELMER, NJ  – To meet the increasing demand for emergency services in our region, South Jersey Healthcare Elmer Hospital formally opened its expanded and renovated Emergency Department on September 29, 2008. The new ER features 16 private patient bays equipped with state-of-the-art equipment at a cost of $4.6 million. The renovated unit has more than doubled in size from 4,975 to more than 10,000 square feet.

“Elmer Hospital is dedicated to accommodating the health care needs of our growing community and renovating our Emergency Department is another example of our effort to fulfill this mission,” said John Bickings, chief operating officer, SJH Elmer Hospital. “The expanded unit is a state-of-the-art facility offering greater comfort for patients and their loved ones.”

New features include two triage rooms (one larger for stretcher exams); two 250-square-foot trauma rooms; four fast-track bays; six examination and treatment bays; and dedicated single exam rooms for isolation, psychiatric holding, pediatrics, and orthopedics. Many bays can be used to treat a variety of emergencies, which will help to increase patient flow through the ER.

The renovations also add an ambulance entrance and a separate walk-in entrance, featuring a security desk and an expanded 30-seat waiting room divided into general, fast-track, and pediatric areas. A new waiting alcove offers patients handicap-accessible rest rooms, phones, water fountains and vending machines. A four-shower Decontamination Room is also accessible directly from the rear entrance platform to receive patients exposed to hazardous materials.

New technologies in the ER for the treatment of stroke patients have also helped Elmer Hospital recently gain certification a Primary Stroke Center by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS). This designation is based upon the hospital’s advanced capabilities and protocols for the rapid and effective diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.

SJH Elmer Hospital has furthered enhanced the ability of their ER staff to provide rapid treatment for stroke patients with a new technology called teleneurology. Quick diagnosis

and treatment are critical for minimizing a stroke’s effects, which can include paralysis, slurred speech and cognitive impairment. This innovative audio and visual communications system connects emergency ER department staff with board-certified neurologists, 24/7, allowing them to provide rapid stroke diagnosis at a moment’s notice.

To support the ER renovation project, the SJH Foundation launched its Building on Excellence Capital Campaign last year. The SJH Foundation, the fundraising arm of the health system, is dedicated to establishing renewable financial resources that provide dollars for needed programs and services, to purchase new equipment and technology and to ensure the continued growth of an endowment fund for the support of SJH.

“We have set a goal to raise $1.5 million for the Elmer ER renovation project and there is still an opportunity for anyone in our community to help us to reach that target,” said Carolyn Heckman, executive director of the SJH Foundation. “To date, generous donations to SJH Foundation from the general public and from within our organization—administration, medical staff, board members and employees—have raised more than $720,000.”

As patient volumes continue to grow and emergency services expand, new services and technology will be needed to support our ER physicians and staff. The Building on Excellence campaign will also help fund the addition of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services to SJH Elmer Hospital’s Radiology Department. The new 1.5 Tesla MRI unit will be available to patients this fall and will generate a detailed view of body structures and will include advanced software to enhance images.

“MRI is a much-needed service that will support many physicians and departments at the hospital,” said Bickings. “Adding MRI services also provides a great convenience to SJH Elmer Hospital patients, who must currently travel to the SJH Regional Medical Center in Vineland for the study.”

For more information about the SJH Foundation, including donation information, please call (856) 691-6551.

South Jersey Healthcare (SJH) is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health care services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and healthcare needs of Southern New Jersey residents.