Local MLAs Andrew Mercier (upper left) and Megan Dykeman were joined by Heather Scott of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, and hospital CEO Jason Cook for an announcement April 9, 2021. (Screen grab/Langley Advance Times)

Local MLAs Andrew Mercier (upper left) and Megan Dykeman were joined by Heather Scott of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, and hospital CEO Jason Cook for an announcement April 9, 2021. (Screen grab/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Langley’s ER construction near completion, patients welcome in early May

Langley Memorial Hospital continued operating despite major construction since 2019

Langley Memorial Hospital’s emergency department expansion is mostly complete with the facility expecting to start treating patients there in early May, but don’t expect fanfare.

The pandemic means any celebration of the $45-million project will have to wait.

“A time of celebration will come, and let’s hope it’s sooner than later,” said Jason Cook, executive director of Langley Memorial Hospital.

He said provincial health orders dictate what can happen, and the priority has to be the ability of patients to receive safe care and staff to be as safe as possible

“Any non-essential events would not be supported at this point of where we’re sitting,” Cook said.

The hospital remained open and operational during construction, which began in 2019.

“Our build has been adjacent to the current emerg so our challenges have been more around the noise and tie into our current hospital structure,” he explained.

• READ MORE: Langley’s $30 million ER expansion moving ahead

The provincial government, through Fraser Health, is providing $29.32 million toward the project. The Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation is contributing $10 million, which includes a $1.5-million contribution from the Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

The project included an MRI suite, which started operation in early 2021.

“We’re so proud of the pivotal role donors played in making this day possible,” said Heather Scott, executive director of the foundation. “The updated, expanded emergency department honours our residents, our great staff and our strong community, and the commitment to health care shown through generous donations has created a lasting legacy that will benefit Langley and surrounding communities for years to come.”

The new ER means the old 31 treatment bays will expand to 49. The ER, built in 1986, had one trauma bay. Now there are two. There’s a decontamination area, and a specific area for handling mental health and drug use emergencies.

“An elder-friendly code has been applied throughout the build,” Cook noted.

That means making changes so it’s easier for seniors to navigate the ER. As well, there’s a dedicated pediatric area in the ER so children are less frightened.

• READ MORE: Langley’s hospital auxiliary pinches pennies to kick in $1.5 million for ER expansion

Cook said the expanded department will expedite care and ER staff were included in the design.

When the ER was first built, it saw about 25,000 patient visits per year. Now the number sits at 44,000. By 2025, the facility is expected to have about 55,000 patient visits annually.

Langley MLA Andrew Mercier noted that the construction carried on while the facility was open but then the pandemic hit, adding unforeseen complications.

“I am just floored by the commitment and professionalism of everyone involved,” he said.

With the ER nearing completion, the emphasis moves from construction to finishing and adding in the equipment and furnishings.

“We are so excited about the clinical advancements,” Cook said.

The staff will have to be trained on new equipment.

The hospital foundation, which raises funds to provide support to the local hospital, has its sights set on the future now that the ER is just about done.

Scott said the other medical areas and long-term care areas are the next parts of the hospital the foundation wants to help with because “our work is far from done.”

Have a story tip? Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com

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