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Transformations at Jefferson Cherry Hill and Washington Township Hospitals

Pictured, from left: the Silvestri Tower at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital under construction (scheduled for completion in July 2021) and the recently completed Patient Pavilion at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital 

Monumental changes at Jefferson Cherry Hill and Washington Township Hospitals will enhance the patient and family experience, enable new clinical programs in the community and keep specialized care close to home. Both hospitals have undergone multi-million dollar renovations over the past few years and now bring the latest technology and patient-focused care to South Jersey.

In December 2020, Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital wrapped up a five-year, $250-million renovation project with the completion and opening of its new seven-story, 230,000 square-foot Patient Pavilion. Originally built in 1960, the updated hospital is now the first of the Jefferson Health – New Jersey hospitals to offer all-private patient rooms—90 of them to be exact.

Jefferson Washington Township Hospital, built in 1972 and under construction since May 2018, will soon offer the same. Its $222-million renovation includes a 240,000 square-foot, seven-story patient tower, complete with 90 private beds. Named The Silvestri Tower, it will open in July 2021.

Improving the Patient Experience

Jefferson Health – New Jersey continually works to bring quality care closer to home for area residents. The addition of private rooms will greatly improve the patient and family experience, as well as the health and safety of those staying and working in the hospitals.

All rooms are designed with patient comfort and preferences in mind. “When interviewing our patient and family advisory committee, we received feedback that they wanted to be able to control things like blinds, lights and temperature in the room,” said Lisa Dutterer, Chief Administrative Officer of Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital. “So, we added remotes to all rooms so patients can control their environment and television, and also call their nurse without leaving their bed.”

“It can be very stressful to be in a hospital, so the comfort of rooms and the amount of light coming in the windows can make a world of difference for patients and their families,” added Brian Sweeney, President of Jefferson Health – New Jersey.

Each room also has a “family zone” with a pullout couch. “We hope, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, to encourage family members to stay overnight with their loved ones by giving them a comfortable place to do so,” said Dutterer.

An Integrated Model of Care

Another powerful component of the new facilities is their integrated model of care. “Physician offices, surgery centers, hospital rooms and amenities all come together under one roof—which is more efficient for patients and for clinical teams. Now, they can move quickly from exam rooms to procedures in the same building,” said Sweeney.

Additionally, each room is equipped with an electronic patient information board to provide patients and their families with essential information. These boards list patient providers, emergency contacts and scheduled treatments on each given day. It allows patients and their families to stay engaged and fully informed about their care plan.

“It’s empowering for patients and families to have complete transparency about their care. We want them to be involved, to know what questions to ask and to play an active role in their own health,” said Dr. Kelly Schiers, Section Head of Critical Care for Jefferson Health – New Jersey.

Designed with Staff in Mind  

The renovations at Jefferson Cherry Hill and Washington Township Hospitals not only benefit the patients, but also the staff. “Burnout is a real risk factor for providers, so we made sure to include amenities for staff, including break rooms and a meditation room with massage chairs,” said Sweeney.

Hospital staff members were also invited to provide input in the design:  “Engineers, designers and architects aren’t using the spaces every day, so it was important to have feedback from providers and staff who live and work there to identify potential roadblocks and pain points,” said Dr. Schiers. “I was invited, along with a group of clinical staff, to partake in the design process from the earliest stages. We looked at the room layouts and suggested changes, like moving outlets farther up on the walls so nurses didn’t have to bend down all day to plug things in. These small adjustments can really make a difference in someone’s day.”

The new hospital pavilions have also been designed with both safety and efficiency in mind. “We’ve added designated sterile elevators to transfer supplies directly to operating rooms. Trash and laundry chutes are located on each floor to avoid carting trash and dirty linens throughout the hallways. There’s even a dictation area between every two patient rooms, so nurses and clinicians can enter notes to patient charts close to their rooms,” said John Graham, Chief Administrative Officer of Jefferson Washington Township Hospital.

Highly Specialized Care in Washington Township

Named after Jefferson Health supporter and board member John P. Silvestri, the Silvestri Tower at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital is scheduled for completion in July 2021. This patient tower will offer high-end services to medical and surgical patients and patients requiring intensive level and intermediate levels of care. 

According to Graham, the Silvestri Tower is designed to provide specialty care for our patients in all service lines, including: Oncology, Neuroscience (Neurology and Neurosurgery), Urology, Gynecology, Gastroenterology, Pulmonary, Thoracic, Vascular and General Surgery, Podiatry, Otolaryngology and Cardiology.

The staff at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital are eagerly awaiting the day construction is completed. “The addition of more patient rooms will be one of the biggest improvements to the campus. In the past, we’ve had to hold patients in the Emergency Department because of our lack of beds, but now we’ll be able to expedite movement with more beds and keep the ER clear for patients who need immediate care,” said Graham.

The Silvestri Tower will also feature a main lobby with access to pre-operative testing and lab work services for seamless and accessible care for the duration of every patient’s hospital stay. “The tower in its entirety will be an asset to the community and will allow us to continue expanding our offerings and services,” said Graham.

A Bright Future for South Jersey

As of December 2020, Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital’s Patient Pavilion has been up and running. And with the completion of the Silvestri Tower on the horizon, the future is bright for healthcare in South Jersey.

“I’m excited to have a space that matches the high level of care we’re providing,” said Dr. Schiers. “When the Patient Pavilion at Cherry Hill opened, we couldn’t have as much fanfare as we normally would because of COVID-19. But it was a beautiful and poignant day simply because we could give our complete attention to the patients—who this is all about.”

Dutterer shared a similar sentiment: “Since we’ve moved to the new Patient Pavilion at Cherry Hill, there’s a sense of calm and quietness that didn’t exist before. The environment is bright and modern and it benefits everyone from a healing perspective. It allows our staff to be focused and use technology to their advantage when caring for patients.”

Over the last several years, Jefferson Health has made a $500-million investment in new physician offices, telehealth, surgery centers and hospitals for the South Jersey community. “It’s important for us to support the growing community and be able to provide the most advanced treatments and research to locations close to where people live. We’re bringing all the knowledge and expertise of a large academic health system to people who previously may have had to go into the city to access quality care,” said Sweeney.

Community support is strong with the whole team at Jefferson, according to Dutterer. “I’m proud of what we’ve done for our community members. We’re here to serve the people of South Jersey and, with these new facilities, we’ve laid the foundation to allow us to provide the best care in the region.”