Kaizen and 5S

Rapid Improvement Events: Kaizen and 5S

Louis Brier’s vision and mission are aimed at providing the best care possible to its residents while striving to be recognized as a center of excellence in elder care. Achieving Accreditation status was one of the milestones set by the board and the leadership team of Louis Brier, however it is just the start. In order to achieve culture change, engage in continuous quality improvement, and engage in innovation and creativity, the leadership team in collaboration with the board decided to apply the principles and framework of LEAN to the everyday work and activities at Louis Brier. Together with external experts, we embarked on our LEAN journey rolled out our first Kaizen and 5S events throughout the months of September and October.


Our first Kaizen event took place during the week of June 25 to 29, 2018 focusing on the Nursing Model of Care and included heavy engagement by front line staff and leadership. The purpose of the Kaizen event was to, radically and permanently, improve processes to enhance the resident experience. The project addressed the continuous complaints of heavy workload, low morale, lack of teamwork and communication and inconsistency of work amongst nursing unit. We worked towards achieving a team-based approach, maintaining licensing standards, addressing inconsistencies in practice as well as, adhering to Work Safe BC regulations. We determined TAKT times (the average time between the start of production of one unit and the start of production of the next unit) and learned about level loading (a LEAN technique to even out the workload) between nurses and Care Aides (CA). Nurses can assist CAs by answering call bells, feeding and helping with transfers. Our goal is to improve the challenges around continuity of care, and the development of standard work for each discipline, Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and CAs.

5S (Sort, Set to Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain)

We held a 5S Event focusing on supply chain management during the week of September 4 to 7, 2018. Staff members from different disciplines were invited to analyze current practices and develop new standards of workflow as it relates to Nursing Stations, Medication Rooms, Supply Rooms, Shower Rooms and Resident Rooms. The 5S Supply Management initiative created a clean, organized, efficient workplace and complimented our Kaizen initiative to better utilize our supplies and equipment.


• increase safety for residents and staff
• workload levelled between staff
• better resident experience
• improved teamwork and morale
• improved line of sight between residents and care staff
• current forms easily accessible
• Par level preventing overstock
• easy to locate supplies and equipment

Low Cost – HUGE Impact

It was projected that these improvements to the nursing stations, medication rooms, and supply rooms would cost up to $60,000 for 6 units. On the one pilot unit, the actual cost of improvements was only $1200.


As an organization, we are strongly committed to ensuring that the rapid improvement events are maintained and sustainable through the following:

• Determine Quality Indicators
• Regular audits and huddles
• Collect input from staff
• When issues arise,  identify the cause and implement the necessary changes to avoid recurrence
• Adhere to the 5S principles
• Leaders must show commitment to follow through with changes