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Behind the scenes of My VCH Projects Saving money by reducing supply waste


Above photo: Melody Pan (third from the left) with the Richmond home health nursing team.

Ever wonder how our staff are making Vancouver Coastal Health a better place?

What gave you the idea for t​​his project? 

Melody Pan.pngAs frontline nurses in the home care setting, my team noticed a lot of IV supply waste that we believed could be avoided. Most of the supplies were not used, and still within the expiry dates and in good condition – things like IV tubing, syringes, alcohol swabs and so on. It was quite a large amount adding up to nearly $100 a patient, and sometimes even more! We thought it was a good time to explore how we could create a clinical process to work on waste reduction to save money and create a healthier environment.

How is your team w​​orking to solve the wastage problem?

We created a best practice model, relying on existing research, and the expertise of our frontline nurses. The team came up with nine recommendations, such as making the price of supplies visible in the supply room so nurses are aware of the cost​s. We also checked with the community supplier and realized staff was providing patients with triple the amount of supplies they were supposed to send home!

So far implementation of the recommendations has been working well to reduce waste. We're training new nurses alongside existing ones to make sure everyone is on the same page and learning together. In the future we want to expand the project from IV waste to wound care, as well as medication waste.

How did using the new My VCH Project​​s pathway affect your project outcome?

We first had the waste reduction idea four years ago, but the initiative kept getting pushed back because we didn't have time to work on it. As frontline staff we have to really prioritize our work, you know?

Using the My VCH Project approach was a great experience, and we had lots of support from our director, manager, and Transformation Office. The project approach gives the power back to the frontline staff and helps them feel like their opinions are valued. It gives us the opportunity to be involved in the decision making process.

What would you tell someone who is​​ just about to start using this approach?

Start with a small goal, something you have knowledge in. Choose a small project where you can see the result quickly, like three or four months instead of several years. And talk to somebody you trust to help you confirm the final topic of the project.

How did it feel when your project​ was officially implemented?

It was so empowering! It really helped me to feel like I have the power and influence to create positive change at Vancouver Coastal Health. I'm working to pass this feeling to my team, and tell the new team members that the change agent starts with us as frontline nurses. We have the experience to know what is needed. It's a great opportunity!

Project Name: Reduce Supply Wastage per Discharge in Home Care Setting
Initiative Owner: Melody Pan, Certified Nurse Educator 

​Related articles

Behind the scenes of My VCH Projects: Implementing Telestroke at Sechelt Hospital​​
Behind the scenes of MY VCH Projects: Creating VCH-wide meaningful recognition

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