Nemours Milford Campus, located next to the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus, is now open to patients.
“We are going from a 3,500 square-foot facility to a 35,000 square-foot facility,” Kelly Thomas, RN, Nurse Supervisor, said. “We are excited to have this brand-new facility that will better serve our patients in Southern Delaware, allowing them to get the treatment they need without driving as much as two hours.”
A tour of the facility began last week in the new therapy gym which will be used for physical therapy, something that was not available in Southern Delaware before. The new physical therapy wing will allow children to receive physical therapy and orthopedic services locally. Thomas explained that special services therapy at the new facility will start in April.
“We will also have specialized rooms for different types of therapy, including feeding therapy,” Aaron Carpenter, Senior Director for Ambulatory Nursing, said. “This is a very welcome addition. One of our specialists was especially excited that there will now be feeding therapy services in the southern part of the state. Previously, these children would have to drive to A.I. in Wilmington and many of them needed transportation services. Providing these types of services locally will be a huge benefit to our families.”
Thomas explained that the new facility will offer 12 different pediatric specialties with a combination of in-person and telehealth. Specialty care physicians will have dedicated examination rooms and the orthopedic team will be on site five days each week. There will be radiology services at the facility which will allow for many diagnostic tests in the building without the need to visit another facility.
“One thing we are very pleased to begin offering is mental health services,” Thomas said. “Not only will these services be available for our own patients, but for the community as well. We will have observation and behavioral health treatment rooms to address a strong need for those services in this area.” Carpenter stated that behavioral health treatment rooms are designed differently than other types of examination rooms in order to address the child’s specific needs.
When a baby is born in Delaware, they are required to have a hearing screening. It is not unusual for an infant to fail the first screening which requires the pediatrician to send them to A.I. duPont.
“Before, a parent would have to drive as much as two hours for a hearing test,” Thomas said. “Usually, the child passes the second test so that drive was a burden on many families. Now, they can simply come here to have the test done. This also allows us to begin providing treatments if the child fails the second test.”
When people enter the lobby of the new facility, they are greeted with bright, cheerful colors with a beach-themed décor. Thomas explained that there will be a large whale in the lobby for children to play on once it is safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A lighting system at each registration station alerts parents when they may approach. Phones do not ring in the lobby but instead are routed to Patient Service Representative (PSRs) in the back of the building. Those phone banks also have pass-thru windows to the nurse’s station so that those answering the phone have quick access to the nursing staff.
Senior services offered by Nemours are also housed in the building but have a separate entrance. The décor there is much more understated, designed more for mature adults. Previously, Nemours had services located in four different buildings in Milford but are pleased to have them all under one roof. The top floors of the building are dedicated to office space for Bayhealth physicians and specialists.
“If a child needs surgery, they may still need to go to A.I. as we won’t offer surgery in this building,” Thomas said. “If the issue is minor, we may be able to send them across the street to Bayhealth. This may happen if there is no need for a pediatric specialist.”
Suzanne Bagas, a pediatrician with Nemours, was very excited to work with specialists one-on-one.
“We will be able to offer better care for our patients here,” Dr. Bagas said. “We have a lot of patients in the southern part of the state who need specialty services. I love how child friendly it appears, how open it is. I love that the examination rooms have peninsula tables so that I can face my patients when I am talking to them.”
Dr. Stephen Schaeffer who moved to Southern Delaware from Southern Pennsylvania when he learned the new facility would be opening, was also thrilled with the new location. Dr. Schaeffer, a pediatric gastroenterologist, had many patients from this area who traveled hours to see him.
“This will be a change from the way I am used to practicing,” Dr. Schaeffer said. “In the Wilmington location, I practiced with my gastro colleagues with little interaction with the other specialties. Now, I will easily interact with colleagues from all practices as well as primary care pediatricians. I am really looking forward to that collaboration.”