“If I need an MRI again, I want it to be there.”
Jessie Pears offers high praise for the new MRI Suite at Langley Memorial Hospital.
Pears, 95 years young, had been waiting for months for an MRI at another facility, before receiving the call to say she could now have it done right here at Langley Memorial.
“I was so pleased when they phoned and said I could get in right away – it’s nice to be closer to home, especially because I don’t drive anymore,” she says.
The new MRI suite ramped up to full operations on Jan. 4, providing patients with care and diagnosis in one location. Jointly funded by the Ministry of Health, Fraser Health and Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation – including $4 million raised by local residents through the Foundation’s Emergency Response campaign – the MRI suite can perform up to 7,500 MRI exams annually, operating 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Emergency Response campaign’s second phase, a new and expanded emergency department, opens later this year.
“Patients really appreciate not having to travel to Abbotsford or Surrey or even further away to get an MRI done,” says Tammy Karoway, Langley Memorial’s site coordinator for medical imaging.
They also appreciate the patient-centred approach the hospital has taken with the MRI suite – an addition more than 2 1/2 years in the making.
Recognizing that the MRI can be intimidating for some people, the suite is designed with a calm beach-like atmosphere to help put patients at ease.
“We often ask patients, ‘Where do you go in your mind when you want to escape?’ and a lot of people say ‘the beach,’ so that’s represented with a ceiling of blue sky and palm trees, and one wall covered with an image of the ocean,” Karoway says.
MRI exams can detect musculoskeletal issues, characterize and detect diseases and tumours, and diagnose abnormalities of the brain, cysts and soft-tissue injuries in other parts of the body. They also help provide early diagnosis and treatment, improving patients’ quality of life.
The new machine will also be able to perform specialized exams such as breast and prostate imaging, which will be used in the future with other types of specialty exams that are much more detailed and involved than usual MRI exams.
Karoway, who has more than 33 years’ experience in health care, says it was extremely satisfying to see the new suite open and fully functioning.
“Seeing the impact on wait lists and knowing that it means less patient transfers, especially with COVID-19, really helps,” says Karoway, who notes that adding the vital diagnostic tool to the hospital is also helpful in retaining and recruiting staff.
“I’m excited to see what the next phase will bring,” Karoway says.
As the community welcomes the new MRI Suite and soon-to-open Emergency Department, there’s much to be proud of, but also more work ahead to help Langley Memorial Hospital reach the modern standard these two facilities set, notes Terra Scheer, Communications and Stewardship with Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.
“We need your continued support, to help provide important equipment and renovations that improve care for everyone who comes to the hospital for care.”
To learn more, visit lmhfoundation.com