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Medical device reprocessing full steam ahead in Lillooet

Medical device reprocessing full steam ahead in Lillooet
A new two-person MDR at the Lillooet Hospital and Health Centre.

As Medical Device Reprocessing (MDR) units go, it’s one of the smallest around.

But that’s OK, because the brand new two-person unit fits perfectly in the Lillooet Hospital and Health Centre. And fits right in with a team of health-care professionals that work together to give residents from a large rural area excellent care and a wide array of services.

The second week of October is dedicated to celebrating MDR departments; reach out to an MDR team member this week!

The MDR is a critical cog in the care environment that includes a surgical unit that runs three-and-a-half days a week and an emergency department that is open 24-7. The MDR is where surgical and medical tools are cleaned, sterilized and prepped for use – keeping residents safe during procedures.

In Lillooet, the MDR is newly designed, a state-of-the-art piece of equipment in a newly renovated space, thanks to a $736,000 investment in the Lillooet Hospital and Health Centre (LHH). The Interior Health project brings the MDR up to current standards of care improving work-flows and patient safety. Height-adjustable ergonomic sinks and workstations allow for enhanced safety for employees and a new steam sterilizer features the latest technology.

And now, it’s full steam ahead for the Lillooet Health Centre, which may be one of the smallest rural hospitals in B.C. still doing surgeries. Many smaller hospitals don’t have their own MDR – a critical piece in the surgical process – and send tools to other Interior Health MDRs for cleaning and preparation. The Lillooet MDR not only has its own MDR, it has also done reprocessing for other rural facilities.

“I’ve heard on many, many occasions that this might be the smallest MDR in the world,” says Megan Delf, LHH’s nurse administrator, a Registered Nurse for 25 years who joined the team in Lillooet in 2010. “But it’s super functional, the flow is great and it’s now filled with state-of-the-art equipment.”

Teamwork is a foundation of Interior Health and at the Lillooet hospital that’s personified. One trained MDR technician is supported by operating room staff/nurses, who are also trained on the MDR. And it’s a busy place. A surgical program that includes one GP surgeon and GP anesthetist perform over 150 scopes per year as well as other procedures such as hernia or carpal tunnel surgeries.

“There is a real sense of connection to our patients. It’s a really great community,” says Megan.

Situated two hours from Kamloops, patients come from a large geographic area and the hospital serves as a hub for those rural and remote areas, including seven Aboriginal communities. Rural patients come to LHH from far and wide, and luckily don’t have to travel further for some procedures.

“We provide a valuable service for the community,” says Megan. “It’s really challenging for some of the population to get to Kamloops for services. The team is really excited for the new MDR. We’ve been working at this for several years. It’s a very valuable investment in the community and the services that are available here.”

One more thing on teamwork: During the project, LHH was sending its surgical tools to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Megan says it allowed their operating room to remain open.

“The team in Kamloops were integral for us during the project. We wouldn’t have been able to stay open for surgeries without them so we wanted to send them a thank-you.”