Lean hospital, two years in
A public perspective
In 2011, the Times-Herald ran a story about Saskatchewan’s health-care system undergoing a massive change and shifting towards what was termed the “Lean system of management.”
The idea was to make things simpler and more efficient for patients and staff, and to eventually save money as well. In 2015, the new Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital — whose design was informed by that Lean method — officially opened its doors.
This is the first in a thre-part series meant to take the pulse of the health-care system in Moose Jaw, as well as the temperature of the people interacting with it. Please see Friday and Saturday papers for more points of view.
There are a few topics that will always be hot-button and divisive issues in any community. Health care is definitely one of them.
For some residents, the new hospital and the methodology its design espoused have been a boon. Vivian Depko went in for an outpatient surgery in June and said her experience was an entirely positive one.
“The thing I found, with Lean, was that it was so much quicker; everybody comes to you,” she told the Times-Herald. “It really worked well for me.”
Depko said she appreciated not having to walk back and forth between various registries and exam rooms for various procedures, and although she was admitted after a bad reaction to anesthetic, felt well taken care of.
“The staff are just excellent,” she said. “A lot of times, I felt like I was the only patient there, and I kept thinking, ‘Go take care of someone else!’”
Jennifer Johnson was also a patient at the hospital over the summer and agreed that the staff were the biggest factor in making her time there as pleasant as it could be.
“Right from intake to getting out, people were so kind,” she said. “I felt like the quality of people was really wonderful, and that I was treated like a person first.”
Johnson had gone in for her procedure intent on not taking pain medication. She thought the surgeons and nurses would be hesitant to go with her plan, but found quite the opposite. She said everyone was supportive of her choice and encouraged her along the way.
“They really went above and beyond what was necessary,” she said. “The environment is very welcoming and warm, and that’s hard when you’re in a place where you already don’t feel good.”
Not everyone, however, has shared these positive experiences.
Faithe Sovdi lost her mother in February, after what she describes as a battle with the system for adequate treatment.
“Now you need to know that our government expects families to take the time to care for their aging parents,” she wrote in an email to the Times-Her- ald. “I totally understand and appreciate their cut-back of funds but not to the extreme it has happened. One can only take so much time from work to provide care without getting in trouble with an employer.”
Sovdi said her mother was admitted through the emergency department in September of last year with a fractured back, shortly after having been diagnosed with osteoporosis. They were relieved to be in the hospital, but too soon were told Sovdi’s mother was fit to return home, against protests from the family.
Sovdi said her mother was assessed for home care, but it was deemed she could take care of herself. She said her mother then moved between a care home that could not provide medical treatments, the hospital, home and respite care. Every step was fraught with struggle and confusion.
“Lean has not helped our seniors,” Sovdi said. “It has made their pending deaths a nightmare for them and their family, especially if they are sick.”
Far from blaming the staff themselves, she said they did the best they could within the existing system. Lean was originally developed by Toyota for increased efficiency in running their manufacturing plants, something Sovdi said is a very different thing than running a hospital or health-care system.
“In your interviews you will hear from people with great stories as well,” she said. “I understand that they are out there, I wish I could hear them, I have only heard the horror stories. My wish is that the Lean system will now connect to the people… hoping patients don’t continue to hit barriers to care like we did.”
facebook feedback Sandi Nixon:
not enough chairs in their ER ‘pause’. Long wait time. One person on admitting during the busiest time. Lean should mean cutting out the bloated admin. Not making patients and staff pay.
Hmmmm....been in emergency w child with head wound bleeding profusely.....took 3 hours to get in. Was jealous of lady that brought her cooler, pjs, cell phone and charger, obviously more prepared for the wait than we were. Once we did get in, they were over capacity so we were treated in a closet.....but the staff was nice Wish people of MJ used walk in clinics and family dr when able instead of ER. Cooler lady was a regular.
So far, we’ve been in a handful of times for different reasons....always clean, always treated well, and wait times have been completely reasonable. Can’t treat my kid with a sprained ankle before the guy having a stroke!
Been on the maternity floor about a month ago. Great birth room/after birth room. Very clean and large. Experienced with the doctor and nurses were absolutely amazing. The only complaints I have is the location bc we live on the far South West corner of the city but it’s Moose Jaw and it only takes like 10-15mins to get across town so I shouldn’t complaint about that..haha. But I really dislike paying for parking.
Wait time, if some one is bleeding and needs stitches they shouldn’t have to wait 4 hours to been seen. How about pay parking for er. Ppl don’t always think to grab change as there running out the door.
Had my premature twins born at 2am. Drove up to ER doors. (No you do not have to pay at ER). ER was empty. Although the maternity area was full they made room for us in a multi use room.(LEAN win). No complaints everything was clean and better organized vs my experience at the union hospital.
best hospital! Im so happy I get to have both my babies there. it’s so clean and nice and the staff were so amazing. I have never had to wait long in emerg maybe it’s just me but waiting a few hours in emerg is completely normal. i waited quadruple the time when i lived in saskatoon. 8 hours or more. and paying for parking? i dont know a hospital where you DONT pay. best hospital hands down.
I had a great experience when I had my baby this summer. The staff were excellent and the rooms on the Women’s Health unit were great. They are nice and spacious and liked having a bathroom that is bigger than a closet. I also really liked the amount of natural light in the hospital from all the windows. Everything was bright and clean while we were there and baby and I were very well cared for.
Not enough room in Women Health. When I delivered my baby almost a year, I had be moved over to the surgery wing to make room. I wasn’t able to follow my doctor’s order like soak in the bath with Epson salt. Not to mention discharging patients so early, I don’t mind going home since this was my second child; but if it was my first and I don’t have help at home I would be worried.
It’s gross and absolutely disgusting in there. Last time I was there there was blood on the sheets in the hospital room in the back of emerg. The waiting room had blood on the floor and chairs. There was needle lids under the sinks in the rooms. the nurses didn’t care to clean the blood up after it was pointed out to them. They said it was clean. The wait times are outrageous 4 5 hours just to see a Dr with a pretty much empty waiting room. Our old hospital was better than this new one.
There should be a therapy gym area like it was in the old hospital all in one and not in two different buildings
Wait time in emergency is ridiculous. When they finally get you into a room, your wait for someone to see you is from 2 to 3 hrs.
The Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital has now been in operation for two years and the Times-Herald thinks it’s time for a checkup.