Instead of travelling between multiple floors, patients undergoing a procedure in the Cardiovascular Investigations Unit (Cath Lab) at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre are now admitted directly from the newly renovated waiting room to the procedure room, just a short walk down the hall.
This new admitting process for cardiac patients requiring an interventional procedure puts an even greater emphasis on patient safety and staff teamwork.
"It minimizes [the patients] travelling around all over the place," says Isabella Hadfield, whose new role as the cardiac ward clerk sees her managing the registration room. "There's less confusion because they don't have to guess where they're going."
In the Cath Lab, patients undergo a variety of cardiac procedures. The goal of this overhauled admitting process was to improve patient experience, one of the steps in the Cath Lab's ongoing restructuring project.
According to cardiac nurse Asha Patel, this new system has increased efficiency in the Cath Lab as staff can now accommodate more patients while making sure they are prepared for their specific procedure.
"With the elevators, it used to take about 30 to 40 minutes sometimes just to get a patient downstairs and then we'd still have to admit [them] down here to make sure that they have their medications or their IV was in, and the shave preps were done," says Asha.
Jennifer Taylor-Kent, a Cardiac Short Stay unit nurse, now stays with patients from admission to discharge. This extended time with patients and their families allows her to provide safer and better care.
What happens in the Cath Lab?
The Cardiovascular Investigations Unit, or Cath Lab, is where non-invasive, invasive, and surgical procedures are performed, under conscious sedation or general anesthetic.
Angiograms and angioplasties are X-ray procedures that look for blockages in the coronary arteries, which are unblocked by inserting stents (small mesh tubes). Patients with congenital heart disease have their heart structurally repaired through minimally-invasive methods in the Cath Lab instead of open heart surgery.
Other procedures performed include pacemaker and defibrillator implants, ablations, and electrophysiological studies to treat patients with cardiac rhythm problems.
"I can take the time to answer any questions and really put my nursing experience to use by trying to get the whole scope of the situation – how they're coping, not coping, and how I can make this an easier process," says Jennifer.
In addition, staff members from both units are now working more closely together. Jennifer says this is an opportunity to learn more about her colleagues and collaborate to improve teamwork.
"Just knowing how other departments function, their workloads, and working together, I find it much more collegial," says Jennifer. "They know us and we know them."