Dedicated Emergency Care for Children

Vinik Family Pediatric Emergency Department at Newton-Wellesley

To care for children in a comfortable environment – close to home – Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides dedicated pediatric emergency services in a community hospital setting. Through a collaboration with MassGeneral Hospital for Children, the Hospital offers advanced services in a separate area within the Emergency Department (ED) designated for pediatric patients.

“Our Pediatric Emergency Department is staffed by full-time, pediatric-dedicated physicians with additional training and experience in pediatric emergency medicine. These physicians are on site 16 hours a day. Our general emergency physicians are available 24 hours per day in the ED,” says Mary Christine Bailey, MD, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Newton-Wellesley. “We’ve gone to great lengths to create a high-quality, child-friendly facility so families feel calm, safe and secure when they have to make a trip to our Emergency Department.”

The Vinik Family Pediatric Emergency Department is an eight-bed unit with the specific equipment needed to care for children.

“Children have a unique set of medical and surgical concerns that are very different from the types of issues seen in adults,” says Dr. Bailey. “The presence of pediatric physicians insures that these unique problems are recognized and treated appropriately. Our dedicated physicians also interact and share medical knowledge with our whole Emergency Department team, which enhances the skills of our general emergency medicine physicians as well.”

A Growing Pediatric Population
The Pediatric Emergency Department has one of the highest patient volumes of all pediatric emergency departments in the state of Massachusetts and is equipped to provide the highest level of medical care for children. In the past year, the Emergency Department treated more than 17,300 pediatric patients.

“We opened our first Pediatric Emergency Department in 2001 with four rooms. In 2007, we built a new facility and expanded the Department to eight rooms,” says Dr. Bailey. “Prior to opening in 2001, we saw around 8,100 pediatric patients per year and now we see more than 17,000 patients. Pediatric patients comprise approximately 30 percent of all visits to the Newton-Wellesley Emergency Department.”

To accommodate the growing pediatric population, the Hospital’s partnership with MassGeneral Hospital for Children allows specialists to be available for treatment, consultation and referral whenever necessary. For critical care situations, the Hospital has established a unique telemedicine link that connects physicians via video to pediatric intensive care specialists at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

“We work with MassGeneral Hospital for Children, which is especially important in the area of pediatric surgery. This collaboration allows us to have 24/7 pediatric surgery coverage for the Emergency Department,” says Dr. Bailey. “We also have pediatric anesthesiologists on staff at the Hospital.”

Child-Friendly Environment
The Pediatric Emergency Department was specially designed to provide child-friendly emergency care. The Department incorporates a nautical theme and has a separate pediatric-focused waiting area with books, toys and a TV equipped with a DVD player. Each exam room has a television available to patients. There is also a child life specialist dedicated to helping pediatric patients and their families who come to the Pediatric Emergency Department.

“Separate facilities for children provide an enriched environment for the care of our pediatric patients,” says Dr. Bailey. “Our separate pediatric waiting area allows children to feel comfortable in the environment. There are toys and play areas in both the front pediatric waiting area and the waiting area within the Pediatric ED, which is often an ideal place for the siblings of the patient to wait while the patient is undergoing necessary procedures.”

Inpatient Units
When Pediatric Emergency Department patients require hospitalization, the Hospital has a dedicated pediatric inpatient unit – giving families the comfort and privacy they need during this time.

Pediatric and neonatal physicians are available at the Hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week and pediatric residents from Massachusetts General Hospital are also available. Each of the 20 patient rooms on the Pediatric Unit is private and equipped with a bathroom and shower. Family members are welcome to stay with their child and are provided with sleeping accommodations in the patient’s room.

The pediatric staff are dedicated to caring for children and committed to including the entire family in the patient’s care. Each patient room contains an informative concierge book to answer frequently asked questions and help patients and families with their orientation to the Unit and the pediatric staff. The Hospital also offers families a number of services to create a nurturing and comfortable environment during their stay including access to DVD players, toys and videos and the use of an individual home theater system. The home theater is a self-contained DVD projector with a movie theater-quality sound system that projects on the patient’s room wall.

Family Centered Care
Coming to the Hospital for any type of medical care can be a stressful experience for children. The Hospital has a dedicated Child Life Program with certified specialists trained to minimize the disruption caused by medical treatment and help ease the stress for children and their families.

“We are focused on family centered care. We not only have specialist expertise in pediatric emergency medicine but also have a strong child life specialist program and a highly skilled nursing staff,” adds Dr. Bailey. “This allows us to not only provide superb medical care but also takes into consideration the developmental needs of children.”

Child Life Program
The Child Life Program at Newton-Wellesley includes a team of seven child life specialists all committed to the psychosocial care of children and families. Through developmentally appropriate preparation, distraction, psychosocial support and play, child life specialists help children and their families understand the hospital environment. As children learn more about their surroundings, the language and the sensations of the hospital, they gain a sense of mastery and control. Their nervousness fades away as it is replaced by knowledge and self-expression through play.

“The child life specialist’s role is unique because this is his or her primary function,” adds Kristy Berksza, MS, Certified Child Life Specialist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. “As adults, we have knowledge, personal experience and logic to help guide us through stressful events, but for children a visit to the hospital is an entirely new and foreign experience.”

At Newton-Wellesley, the child life team is integrated into all aspects of pediatric health care and strives to provide unparalleled family centered care.

“Newton-Wellesley has high-quality, advanced services to provide any level of care needed by our pediatric patients,” says Dr. Bailey. “Our entire team is dedicated to offer compassionate, family centered care to children and their families as well as the most innovative and sophisticated health care options.”

For more information about the Pediatric Emergency Department at Newton-Wellesley Hospital or to schedule an appointment with a physician, contact CareFinder at 1-866-NWH-DOCS (694-3627) or visit our website at

Our Team

Mary Christine Bailey, MD, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Joel L. Bass, MD, Chief of Pediatrics
Kristy Berksza, MS, Certified Child Life Specialist

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