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New maternity unit and clinic opens at Langley Memorial Hospital

Vanessa Vandekerkhove and her husband, Josh Jansenvandoorn, posed for photos with their then-infant daughter Adrianna in February, 2013, during a ceremony to mark the official groundbreaking for the new LMH maternity ward. The ward, named for the Vandekerkhove family, opened on Tuesday. - Langley Times file photo
Vanessa Vandekerkhove and her husband, Josh Jansenvandoorn, posed for photos with their then-infant daughter Adrianna in February, 2013, during a ceremony to mark the official groundbreaking for the new LMH maternity ward. The ward, named for the Vandekerkhove family, opened on Tuesday.
— image credit: Langley Times file photo

This month, Langley Memorial Hospital has a birth announcement of its own to make.

After huge fundraising efforts, generous donations from the community and building a third floor onto the hospital, LMH is ready to announce it has a new maternity unit and clinic.

The $11.66 million project ensures that all maternity care is on one floor, (the third floor). There will be a dedicated operating room for C-sections.

The expansion and relocation will allow for seven new single maternity care rooms, so new mothers can stay in one room for a continuum of care.

The expanded nursery is already complete and being used. There is also a new isolation room. The new space will also be ideal for teaching for UBC medical students and Family Practice residents.

To facilitate everything on one floor, the hospital had to build a third storey onto the hospital, which is no easy feat.

"When Dr. Chapman and I launched the maternity clinic back in 2004, we knew we were meeting a huge need for the community. One of our biggest challenges has been our location in the hospital," said Dr. Beth Watt, one of the founding physicians of LMH's maternity clinic.

"We started the clinic in one area and have been moved three times. With this expansion, our maternity care is now all on one floor which is very important for our patients and our physicians, nurse and clinicians."

The Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation was instrumental in raising $4.1 million so far from their "It All Starts Here" maternity expansion campaign.

The Vandekerkhove family, contributed $1 million to the campaign and many Langley family businesses followed. Fraser Health committed $6.3 million to the new unit. The maternity unit has been renamed The Vandekerkhove Family Maternity Centre, in recognition of the family's gift to the campaign.

Turning away women in labour is something no staff member at Langley Hospital wants to do, but it had become a frequent occurrence.

When the hospital first opened in 1948, 11 beds for the 85 babies born there each year was very sufficient. But today, the number of births has increased to 1,800 on average per year. The number of beds has increased by just two.

The new reality is, there just isn’t enough room at LMH to accommodate the growing community. The number of yearly births is expected to continue to rise to 2,300 over the next seven years.

The LMHF also opened up a new 700 space parking lot across from the hospital to accommodate the growing number of people using this busy health facility.

If you would like to donate or learn more about the Langley Hospital Foundation go to www.lmhfoundation.com.

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