The staff of the 5000 Trauma and General Surgery Unit at Royal University Hospital have shown initiative and skill in linking their flow of supplies to safer patient care.

This unit had their Kanban (or  inventory control) system upgraded this spring, and since that time, 5000 Clinical Nurse Educator Marla Regier and the unit assistants responsible for the ordering and restocking of the supplies in the storage room have taken the system one step further to create kits that each patient receives upon admission.

The admission kit for RUH 5000 unit

The admission kit contains body wash and other items patients might need during their stay, including a colour-coded map of the unit.

“Anyone who is expected to be admitted for over 24 hours to the unit will have a kit waiting for them in their room when they arrive,” Regier explained.

Inside the kit is a notebook and pen, so the patient or family can write down questions for the physicians or nurses, take down care instructions, or make notes for their family physicians about the procedures and tests that were done. There is also a no-rinse body wash and shampoo, body lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste and hand cleaner. Three pamphlets are also included – one on the proper handwashing technique, a welcome to 5000 information sheet complete with a colour-coded map of the unit which matches colour-coding on the walls, and information on Saskatoon Health Region’s resuscitation policy, so patients can make informed decisions.

The supplies for the kits are all kept in the supply room, using a Kanban system. At the end of a patient’s stay, they are invited to take the materials home with them; if  they choose not to, the materials are thrown away as an infection control measure.

This is one of the ways staff are focusing on patient safety by trying to cut down the possible spread of patient infection. It’s also a great example of how safety and efficiency can go hand in hand.

“Because everyone gets their own soap which they can take home or throw out, and their own notebook, and toothpaste, and everything else, nothing is being re-used, so there’s no possibility of infection spreading from one patient to another. Anything that limits contacts limits the possibility of an outbreak,” said Regier.

The kit also gives the patients supplies they might not have thought to bring, or had the opportunity to get.

“Those getting prebooked surgeries come with everything they might need, down to housecoats and slippers,” Regier noted. “But our trauma patients come in with nothing, not even a toothbrush, so we’re happy we can supply those to them.”

Their Kanban system makes it easy to do this for each patient.

“It’s all in one place, so our staff can just come in here, fill a bag with everything that’s right here, and it’s done, and ready to go to the patient’s bedside,” Regier said.

The supply room RUH 5000

The supplies for the admission kits are all kept in the supply room, using a Kanban (inventory control) system, so it’s easy for staff to create one for each new patient on the unit.


“What I appreciate the most about this, is the staff on 5000 have thought about and come up with great ideas of how to use the tool of Kanban and coordinated with Supply Chain’s Kanban team to implement their ideas,” noted Corinne Haack, Kaizen Specialist with Saskatoon Health Region. “It’s a great showing of how they are connecting the unit’s patient’s needs to the region’s overall plan for inventory control.”