“Every Footstep Precious” – New Fridge Makes Lab Testing Faster Thanks to Family CARE Grant

New fridge, thanks to a Family CARE Grant
Thanks to a Family CARE Grant, medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) at the Health Sciences Centre no longer have to walk to the other side of the lab for supplies, speeding up test times for better patient care. From left, Lucy Chow, Renee McLeod, Alyssa Sabatini, Georgia Carr, Marion Petersen, and Sheila Prus.

“When you’re talking about getting tests done efficiently, every footstep is precious,” said Sheila Prus, Biochemistry Coordinator in the Clinical Laboratory at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

That’s why the Clinical Laboratory worked hard last year to improve efficiency for better patient care. Efficiency is important at such a busy place. On average, medical laboratory technologists or MLTs test approximately 2,500 patient samples every day including blood, swabs, and tissues.

However soon after their improvements, one of the fridges in the lab broke down forcing staff to use a fridge on the other side of the lab. Prus said it doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but in fact travelling back and forth to the other fridge slowed down testing times.

“It sounds so basic. It’s just a kitchen fridge, but it’s a huge thing for us. We didn’t realize what an impact having one right there would have on turnaround times,” she said.

Now, thanks to a Family CARE Grant, they have a new fridge to help keep those turnaround times down.

The fridge stores various chemicals used to calibrate (adjust) the lab’s chemistry instrumentation. MLTs use this instrumentation to test various patient samples. There are different tests depending on what the doctor or other health care professional is looking for. The equipment must be calibrated several times a day to ensure accurate results with each test. That means stopping everything, going down to the fridge, getting the calibration chemicals, and coming back to calibrate.

“Leaving the workspace every time you need to calibrate the instruments is a very inefficient way to do things,” Prus said. Turnaround time for results isn’t always crucial. But sometimes it is. “For our critical care patients, we want to get those results back as quickly as possible.”

The new fridge is now right next to the instrumentation, literally half a step away.

It’s all thanks to our generous community supporters. The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and the Volunteer Association both contribute to the Family CARE Grant (which stands for “Care Advancement Recommended by Employees”). This growing program allows front-line staff at the Health Sciences Centre to make suggestions for improving patient care, and gives them the funding to make it possible. That funding comes entirely from our incredible donors who want to improve patient care.

You can help! Please donate online, visit our Donation Centre, or call Lorna and Deborah at the Health Sciences Foundation at (807) 345-4673 to donate directly to the Family CARE Grant Program. Your donation today will make a huge difference in someone’s health tomorrow. Thank you!