Monday, July 20, 2009

What is the advantage to removable and exchangeable cassettes within medication carts?

Medication carts are designed to allow nurses and health care staff to pre-sort medication by patient or by medication type, allowing for easy administration of the meds to the patients. Typically in medication carts each row or series of bins is a separate cassette which can be removed from the cart in one easy block and exchanged with another cassette in the cart. Bins in a cart can range from 20 to up to 36 or more bins. The larger the number of bins the smaller each bin will be on most carts. This allows the health care professional setting up the cart to organize the cassettes in order of administering the medication. This organization allows the nurse to simply pull out an empty top cassette and exchange it with a lower level full cassette that is set up in order for the next patients. With one simple exchange excessive bending over and ducking down to check medication bins on lower levels of the cart is completely eliminated. Less mistakes, more efficiency and greater freedom for the staff is achieved with this simple option. What are additional features to consider on medication carts? Different medication carts offer different features that may be very important in specific health care settings. One option that many carts offer is a side compartment or end compartment that is separate from the cassettes and medication bins. This storage compartment can be used to hold general equipment, patient information, first aid equipment or any other necessities that may be required. A pull out side tray is an additional feature that can really come in handy. This tray slides in under the top, allowing for additional space for the nurse or staff to have access to when using the cart. Some medication carts have an additional pull out drawer under the top as well for smaller storage. Railings around the top of the medication carts are helpful to keep items on the top of the cart when the cart is in motion. This can also be helpful if other equipment is required during the med round. Are there accessories available for medication carts? Some great additional features that are optional on many medication carts include items such as paper cup dispensers. These simple holders clip or are mounted onto the side of the cart, preventing the need to balance cups on the top or store inside the cart itself. Locking drawers for narcotics will be essential to be in compliance with medication administration requirements. Drawers that lock on closure are a great accessory or additional feature that prevents the staff from having to manually lock the drawer each time it is closed. Keyed access prevents issues with narcotics being removed from the cart by unauthorized individuals. Scanners to record narcotics and other medications removed from the cart for electronic record keeping are also an important feature to consider. Since many hospitals and clinics have gone to fully electronic records, these scanners cut down on inventory counting and manual data entry.

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