GLEN OAKS, NY -- Zucker Hillside Hospital today celebrated the opening of a new 130,000-square-foot, $120 million inpatient pavilion. Constructed with the generous support of North Shore-LIJ Health System trustees Donald and Barbara Zucker and other donors, the 130,000-square-foot building will consolidate outdated living quarters dispersed across the psychiatric facility’s campus, significantly improving the coordination of services and treatment along the continuum of care.
The new two-story pavilion has three adult units totaling 56 beds for adults suffering from depression, mood and affective disorders, and substance abuse, a 21-bed adolescent unit, and two geriatric units totaling 38 beds designated for clients with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and associated psychiatric disorders. The new pavilion also features a state-of-the-art Electroconvulsive Therapy Suite, which has proven highly successful in treating depression and other psychiatric disorders.
This modern, patient-centered facility is surrounded by a tranquil and sprawling environment that preserves the unique history of the Zucker Hillside campus, located on the grounds of Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center in Glen Oaks, NY. The building has been designed so that each unit radiates from a central rotunda with spaces for informal gatherings. Patient rooms are private or semi-private -- a welcome change from the outdated cottages and other living quarters for inpatients. Dining and recreation areas have been designed to encourage a sense of well-being, security and relaxation.
“There have been many milestones in the 85-year history of Zucker Hillside Hospital, but the opening of this 115-bed inpatient pavilion represents a transformation on a grand scale, not only in terms of the physical infrastructure, but in our ability to provide a full continuum of care to our behavioral health clients,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
John Kane, MD, chair of psychology at Zucker Hillside Hospital, said behavioral health disorders affect nearly half of the population during the course of a lifetime and account for more disability and missed days of work than any other illness. Updating the facilities at Zucker Hillside enables the hospital to meet the needs of this often-overlooked patient population and enhance its reputation as a premier center for behavioral healthcare in the New York metropolitan area.
“Psychiatric illness and addiction cause heartache and alter lives,” Dr. Kane said. “Their devastating impact scars families for generations. This new pavilion will help us treat these disorders to change that, healing families and returning people to society’s mainstream.”
At a dedication ceremony on Friday, more than 100 attendees heard from three individuals who are living proof of the life-saving work being done at Zucker Hillside Hospital:
- Cathie Le MeMaire, of Huntington, has received electroconvulsive therapy treatments at the hospital for the past two years to ease depression;
- Mary Giordano, of Port Washington, an elder care attorney, brought her 80-year-old mother to Zucker Hillside to receive treatment for dementia; and
- Robert Abitbol, 21, of West Hempstead, had to leave college because of severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). He credits cognitive behavioral therapy and medications he received at ZHH for his eventual return to college.
Innovation and Compassion
Founded as Hastings Hillside Hospital in 1927 by neurologist Israel Strauss, MD, the private hospital provided the first formal therapeutic community — a modality specializing in the use of meaningful tasks like gardening that assist patients as they work through the recovery process. As psychiatry has evolved, the hospital has been at the forefront of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, inpatient specialty services and outpatient treatment — and continues to play a historic role in establishing modern psychiatric remedies.
In 1999, Mr. and Ms. Zucker emerged as advocates for the facility. In recognition of their ongoing support, the hospital complex was renamed The Zucker Hillside Hospital. Their insight and generosity not only allowed the building of the most recent addition, but also the construction of the 89,000-square-foot, $33.3 million Ambulatory Care Pavilion, which opened in 2004.
Among the other major donors for the project were: Leonard Litwin, John Bendheim Sr., the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Rita and Frank Castagna, Rosalie Brown Greenberg, Diane and Darryl Mallah, and the Ashner Evergreen Family Foundation.