TAVARES, Fla., December 10, 2019 – More than 700 community members joined AdventHealth Waterman this evening for the grand opening of the new pediatric ER, celebrating the completion of Phase II of a 111,000-square-foot, $85 million expansion.
The community celebrated this milestone with free family-friendly activities, including photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ornament crafts, a live nativity scene, and more.
This new pediatric ER will officially open to patients 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week on Dec. 13 at 6 a.m.
AdventHealth Waterman currently sees 67,000 patients each year in the ER, including 11,800 pediatric patients.
“Before our new unit was built, the closest dedicated pediatric ER is in Ocala, Orlando and Gainesville,” said Laura Perry, AdventHealth Waterman director of emergency services. “Knowing we cared for nearly 12,000 patients under the age of 18 in our emergency department last year, we wanted to develop a pediatric ER for families right here in Lake County that could be staffed 24-7 by emergency medicine physicians and specially trained nurses, and designed to be child-friendly and scare-free.”
As part of a collaboration with AdventHealth for Children, the new ER’s clinical team is specially trained in pediatric care, including board-certified emergency physicians, nurses and child-life specialists, who ensure each patient’s emotional, development and psychosocial needs are met.
“For parents and children, a visit to the ER can be a stressful and fearful time, so it’s important that we provide specialized care that’s designed around the needs of children and their families,” said Dr. Rajan Wadhawan, senior executive officer of AdventHealth for Children. “This new pediatric ER provides a calming environment for families, and more importantly, is staffed by caregivers who are experts in pediatric medicine.”
This construction project doubled the footprint of the emergency department and grew capacity from 35 to 58 beds, making it the largest ER facility in Lake County.
“Since 2000, the population of Lake County has grown by nearly 50%, and it’s expected to grow by another 12% over the next four years,” said Abel Biri, AdventHealth Waterman president and CEO. “Caring for the additional 15,000 patients over our originally intended capacity was a strain, and we knew we needed to expand our ER to meet the needs of patients today, as well as plan for the growing need for emergency care in the future.”
“More than 80% of our hospital’s patients originate from the emergency department. While the pediatric ER is a new and important service, this expansion project is so much more than that,” Biri added.
In addition to adding an eight-bed pediatric ER, this expansion project also improved privacy and patient flow within the emergency department.
In January, a 12-bed area for minor care for adults, such as treating lacerations, broken bones or flu symptoms, will also open. Patients in this area will receive rapid treatment, including physician evaluations and test results, and will be discharged to the comfort of their own home.
The project was designed by Gresham, Smith and Partners of Jacksonville. Construction was completed by Robins & Morton of Orlando.
This project is the second largest investment in a healthcare facility in Lake County’s history – since AdventHealth Waterman’s Tavares campus was completed more than 15 years ago.
To learn more, visit WatermanPedsER.com.