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Westwood Hospital Renovations 90 Percent Complete

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley CEO Chad Melton said he expects the hospital to take its first patient June 1.

Officials at HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley expect to take their first patient June 1, according to CEO Chad Melton.

Melton told Patch Tuesday that renovations to the former Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood are about 90 percent complete and they hope to have a certificate of occupancy for the whole building within the next month and have a license by April.

The renovations will make the hospital an all around more comfortable place for patients than the Pascack Valley Hospital was, Melton said. The old pea green walls have been repainted white or other bright colors. Furniture in work areas is designed to dampen sound so it will not bother patients. The new layout will also be easier for guests to navigate, Melton said.

"I have no doubt that we will be the best facility around," Melton said.

When HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley opens, all 128 beds will be in private rooms. It will be the only hospital in Bergen County to have exclusively private rooms, Melton said. All the rooms will feature HDTVs for the patients to watch and computers for nurses so they spend less time at central stations and more time with patients, helping them recover quicker.

The hospital's cafeteria, formerly open only to employees, will be open to the public under the name Bistro 250. It will feature paintings from New Jersey artists on the walls and food prepared by a yet-to-be-hired executive chef. Patients will be able to order breakfast, lunch or dinner at any time of day for delivery to their rooms. 

Most of the heavy equipment has already been installed, Melton said. Operating rooms are equiped with large booms with lights and other equipment that can be arranged however doctors require. A digital X-ray unit features a table with can be tilted to any angle for patients. Also, the MRI facility — which used to be located across Old Hook Road — has been moved inside the main hospital building.

The hospital's lobby will be redecorated with some new furniture and a former cafe off the lobby is being transformed into a community conference center. The conference center will be available to local organizations to use for free.

"You can't forget the reason that you're here: to serve the community," Melton said.

Hospital officials are also looking toward future renovations. Later this year, they hope to replace the existing emergency room, located in the rear side of the hospital, with a new, larger ER in the former obstetrics wing, Melton said. The new ER will allow for more patients and be easier to access in the front of the building.

The hospital has already been hiring many employees. There are currently about 48 working, which will grow to about 75 in March, more than 300 by the time they open and then between 450 and 500 by the end of the year, according to Melton. A job fair last October attracted more than 900 applicants.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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