With great sensitivity for the families of deceased patients top of mind, staff from the patient transporting team brought SHN’s values of compassion and innovation to life with significant contributions to the redesign of a morgue stretcher cover.

When the new morgue stretchers arrived in July this year, the Birchmount and General Transport teams were pleasantly surprised because they looked more like regular stretchers, making it less obvious when porters are moving patients who have passed on.

However, when Frank Ceci, Manager of Patient Transportation, Linen Services, and Mail Room asked staff for feedback, concerns were raised about the covers.

“We put the cover on it and realized that it was oversized, it was difficult to maneuver (because it covered the handles) and it just didn’t sit properly on the stretcher. It kind of dipped in the middle,” said Frank.

“The staff didn’t like it so we worked with Lauren (Larivee, Account Manager Patient Handling, at Stryker, manufacturer of the new morgue stretchers). She came in during one of our huddles, and she asked straight up, what we didn’t like about it.”

Lauren watched closely as porters demonstrated why the covers couldn’t work for them.

“They showed me the way that the present stretcher cover worked, and they also explained to me why the current product wasn’t making sense to them. When I saw them actually set it up it was covering their push handles, which they need to move the stretcher around the hall.

“It was also baggy, too large and the colour was black. They explained to me that it’s a very sensitive time to be moving patients to the morgue and they wanted to respect the family.”


Left to right: Before and after of morgue stretcher cover.

Lauren said the company has never received feedback like this and is appreciative of the suggestions made by SHN staff. This new concept is what the Fortune 500 medical technology company will be using moving forward.

“Because of their feedback we’ve changed designs for all of our customers. We really appreciated the thought and the fact that they shared it with us. We hope that moving forward we’ll continue to have that partnership with Scarborough Health Network,” she said.

Thank you, Patient Transportation, for your commitment to patient- and family-centred care.