​​​PACU photo
Sofie Cazimoski, Avis Lecky and Delia Doodram restored mobility to the mobile airway cart. (Photo: UHN)​

In Delia Doodram's world, every second counts.

In the post anesthetic care unit, patients regularly go from stable to critical condition in a heartbeat. That means it's crucial for supplies in the PACU to be well-organized so staff don't spend crucial seconds looking for things.

Staff thought they were spending too much time looking for supplies, so they decided to make a change.

 Delia, together with Sofie Cazimoski, a nurse, and Avis Lecky, a ward clerk, got to work collecting data on how far staff travelled to find supplies, how many places they had to look to find what they needed, which supplies they ran out of most often, and which ones they no longer used.

"We saw that to change a dressing, nurses had to go to three different places to get the supplies," says Delia.

"We have a portable airway cart we bring to the bedside in emergencies, but it had so much stuff piled on top that we couldn't move it. That created motion waste when staff made multiple trips for supplies."

With facts in hand, the team set out sorting through every item in the store room, in the supply carts, and on the bedside stands. They made the airway cart portable again, and standardized which supplies were kept where.

Not only did they make things more organized, when they reviewed the supply list, they found they were able to reduce the unit's order by $3,500.

"We grouped items by function and standardized the quantities, because too many is almost as bad as not enough when you're looking for something in a hurry," says Delia. "We also got rid of obsolete equipment, like our old gas cylinders."

Through the efforts of Delia, Sofie and Avis, the storage areas in the PACU are clean, standardized and contain only the supplies the team actually needs. The obsolete gas cylinders are long gone, and Delia is going to make sure nothing else piles up where they used to be.

To ensure the supply room stays tidy, Delia is working on a directory so her staff will know who to call to remove old or unused materials from the storage room.

Now if a PACU patient's condition becomes critical, the care team will be able to spend more time at the bedside and less time in the supply room.

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