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A Lean Success Story Re-creating the Maintenance Lift Inspection Program

In December 2010, the Cypress Health Region owned 258 patient

lifts of various types spread over 16 different facilities.

Additional ceiling-

mounted lifts were scheduled to be installed in 2011. In the interests of patient safety,

every lift within the region requires mechanical inspections every 2 months with an in-depth annual inspection and weight test performed every 12 months. This is an essential activity to help ensure patient and staff safety.

December 2010 also brought forth a realization that the existing lift inspection program, as it had been developed in previous years, was dysfunctional and ineffi cient. were identifi ed:

• Only one person in the region was trained and capable of completing the critical Annual Inspections.


addition, bi-monthly inspections were being placed upon day-to-day maintenance staff who had not been trained.

• Because these lifts were then required to be shipped to the Cypress Regional Hospital for the one trained staff member to inspect them, the region was accumulating upwards of $10,000 to $12,000 in shipping costs each year with each lift costing $50 per trip. This fi gure does not include the cost of shipping lifts within the city of Swift Current, nor does it consider the number of lifts that were shipped for repair issues.

• In addition, approximately 1/3 of lifts in the region are ceiling mounted lifts that could not be shipped. This led to further costs in time, fuel, and vehicle rentals for the trained staff member and their 700 pounds of test equipment being moved around the region.


excessively heavy test equipment was manually loaded by one staff member each time.

• No succession plan was in place. Only one staff member had been trained on lift inspections and retirement was nearing for this individual.

• The shipping of lifts back and forth also resulted in the delay of up to one week before the lifts could be put back to use by staff and clients. Due to the backlog caused by only one person being trained to inspect all the lifts, many lifts were absent from their facilities for as long as six weeks.

• There was a major concern for safety and possibility of damage.


Hearing a code voiced over a public address system at a Hospital is commonplace. Patients, family members, and visitors will hear, from time to time, a ‘code blue’ or a ‘stroke alert’. This coding system is imperative to urgent responses from trained medical professionals, but also brings upon the realization of a diffi cult time for a patient.

A staff member at the Cypress Regional Hospital has recently brought forth an idea that they heard at another Hospital that they visited. The idea: to publically share one of the most positive experiences that occur at a Hospital.

With the help of the Information Technology and Communications departments, the Cypress Regional Hospital has found a way to acknowledge a very happy event. This

By the middle of summer 2011, the Cypress Health Region’s


group had developed and implemented a new program to make the Maintenance Lift Inspection Program more effi cient.

More than 20 maintenance staff throughout the region joined at a pair of centralized locations to receive training from Hill-Rom Canada regarding lift care and inspection. This included at least one person from every facility that contains patient lifts. This was the fi rst phase of the training session and a second training session is being planned to train other staff members.

repaired lifts were often banged up and damaged in transit back to their facility.

• Financially, all repair parts for the lifts were coming out of one single budget at the Cypress Regional Hospital. A true picture of the cost of maintaining lifts was impossible to determine.

Several problems

While other concerns were also present, the picture became clear; the Maintenance Lift Inspection Program didn’t need tweaking, it needed to be utterly rebuilt.

Ceiling track lifts like this one, installed at the Cypress Regional Hospital, are used to safely lift and transfer patients

Ceiling tracklifts like thisone, installed atthe Cypress

Hospital has re-gained the time of a full-time maintenance employee for direly-needed regular building maintenance.

Once this training was complete, no lift in the region has since been shipped outside of its facility. All inspections and repairs are completed on site. Because of this step alone, the region will save more dollars in one year than it cost to complete the training of staff members.All facilities were provided with their own set of weight- testing equipment. Through the conjunction of Wheatland Machine Shop, a weight-testing set was designed which can be mounted on a cart for ease of transport. Every lift, whether it is a portable patient lift, or a ceiling-mounted lift, can now be tested on site.

The customer service delay has been reduced from one to six weeks down to a matter of one to six hours. Lift damage in transit has been utterly eliminated, and there is no more concern regarding succession planning. With lift maintenance no longer falling on the shoulders of a single individual, the Cypress Regional

Finally, through utilization of the Inventory Control Clerk at the Cypress Regional Hospital, a modest inventory of common-needed repair parts is being maintained. Shipments arrive in bulk at the facility (resulting in savings in shipping costs) and are distributed throughout the region on already-existing delivery schedules.


Inventory Control Clerk records and documents the parts, creating an accurate record of the fi nancial costs of maintaining regional lifts.

The effi ciencies discovered through taking an in-depth, Lean approach to the way business was being completed has resulted in remarkable improvements to the Maintenance Lift Inspection Program. It’s about working smarter, not harder, and allows for a more effi cient use of time to take a proactive approach in place of being reactive.

Cypress Regional Hospital Now Celebrating New Births in Unique Way

new strategy will see the playing of approximately 15 seconds of Celine Dion’s Brahms Lullaby each and every time a baby is born.

Staff of the Hospital hope that this will quickly become recognizable to everyone in the facility to bring smiles from the positive event that has just occurred.

In 2011 the Cypress Regional Hospital delivered a total of 388 babies.

The next time you are in the Cypress Regional Hospital and you hear Brahms Lullaby playing you will know that a new child has been born, bringing tremendous joy to his or her parents.


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