Lean hos­pi­tal, two years in

A pub­lic per­spec­tive

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - FRONT PAGE - SARAH LADIK FILE

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.

Si­enna Ste­wart:

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.

Vicki Halver­son:

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!

Hoy Hill:

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.

Carly McKee:

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.

Ryan Dionne:

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.

Kayla Haa­nen:

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.

Kristin Hordyk:

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.

As­sosa Buba:

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.

Steph Rod­ford:

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.

Theresa Peter­son:

There should be a ther­apy gym area like it was in the old hos­pi­tal all in one and not in two dif­fer­ent build­ings

Kathey Mitchell:

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.

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