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 of Directors and the leadership team of Louis Brier, however, it is just the start. In order to achieve culture change, engage in continuous quality improvement, innovation and creativity, the leadership team in collaboration with the Board of Directors decided to apply the principles and framework of LEAN to the everyday work and activities at Louis Brier.

In June 2018, together with external experts, we embarked on our LEAN journey and rolled out our first Kaizen and 5S events, focusing on the Nursing Model of Care.

The purpose of the Kaizen event was to, radically and permanently, improve processes to enhance the resident experience, and the process included heavy engagement by front line staff and leadership. 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). Our goal was 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.


In September 2018, we held our first 5S Event focusing on supply chain management.

5S stands for the 5 steps of this methodology:

These steps involve going through everything in a space, deciding what is necessary and what is not, putting things in order, cleaning, and setting up procedures for performing these tasks on a regular basis.

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.

Before 5S Event – Supply Chain Management

After 5S Event – Supply Chain Management


  • 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

We continued our journey through 2019/20 and implemented the LEAN 5S process across several other departments.

Laundry Department:

In February 2020, the Laundry Department engaged in Lean 5S activity with support from the Care, QRM and Maintenance teams, as we strive to continue to improve our service and eliminate waste. Opportunities were identified to create a safe and more functional workspace for the staff that promotes efficiencies by eliminating non value-added wastes. We organized supplies, equipment, and updated routine procedure to improve the service delivery to the end users.

Assisted Living (AL):

In March 2020, the nursing team led a Lean 5S event in the Assisted Living unit at the Weinberg Residence. The focus was on streamlining communication, handover, and workflow between the staff in Assisted Living and enhanced collaboration with Multi-Level Care unit.

Multi-level Care (MLC):

In May 2020, the MLC unit at the Weinberg Residence underwent a Lean 5S event focusing on streamlining communication, enhancing Supply Management, the in-room distribution process, and change of workflow to Team based approach.

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