Medical Equipment Blog

Weighing In On The Pros Of Physicians Scales

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What safety features can be found on physician scales and how to they benefit the patient?

Mechanical Beam Scsale w Height Rod
There are several different safety features that can be built into any of the standard models of physician scales. One of the most common and practical is to have a rubberized mat or coating on the actual platform. This prevents the patient from slipping when stepping on and off the scale, even if they are not wearing any footwear. The rubberized surface may be ridged, dimpled or texturized to add traction to an otherwise very slick surface.

Another safety feature to consider is the position of either a handle or a rail for the patient to grasp. Handles are typically mounted directly to the column and are centered with the column in the middle of the platform. Often times these handles have rubberized grips to provide additional security. Patients that are not comfortable with the step up or step down can utilize the handle to provide balance. Rails can be another option. These are more substantial and are set to be at waist height for an average adult. This is a perfect option for seniors and patients that are used to using a standard walker for support and balance.

Low profile platforms that minimize the necessity to step up and step down are a good idea for most patients. Using a high capacity model with a larger platform can also provide security for larger adult patients that may feel that the standard platform is not wide or long enough for comfort and balance.

Is there a correct way to use a balance beam scale and, if so, what are the steps?
Traditional Mechanical Scale
There are recommended steps in using a balance beam scale, which are also known as physician scales. The first step is to make sure that the weights are all the way to the zero indicator side of the beam prior to stepping up on the platform. The tip of the scale should be in the middle of the notch in this position. Step up on the scale and allow the slight movement in the platform to stop.

Using the heavy weight, located on the bottom rod of the beam scale, slide it across until the tip drops to the bottom of the slot. Move the weight backwards (lighter) one notch. Make sure that the weight is dropped into the notch on the beam. The tip should spring up and touch the top of the slot.

Using the smaller, light weight on the top beam start to slowly slide it across from light to heavy. When the tip starts to waiver and drop slow down and move notch by notch until the tip balances in the center of the slot without touching the top or bottom. Read the weight off of both beams and then return the weights to the zero end of the beams and step off the scale. Add the two weights together for your total weight.

How can physician scales be cleaned between patient use?

Cleaning physician scales should be easy. Most offer a solid construction of metal for the frame that can be sprayed with disinfectant and wiped down. In addition the platform of the scale should also be easy to clean using a wipe or spray type of disinfectant. The major area of concern is any possible groove or indentation around the platform, especially if the frame is level with the platform and there is a gap. Contaminants and liquids can drain into that gap and allow bacteria or other types of contaminants to collect.

Many of the scales with this type of design provide a removable platform that can be washed easily and then replaced. This will not impact the calibration of the scale.

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Operating Efficiency in Linen Trolleys & Carts

Monday, May 14, 2012

What options are available for very lightweight linen trolleys that can stand up to daily use?
Four Shelf Linen Trolley Cart
Most of the standard linen trolley models will have frames made of very lightweight aluminum which is an ideal material for several reasons. It is resistant to staining and rusting and it is also very scuff and scratch resistant in typical use. However, for another style of lightweight option there is also PVC construction. This very strong yet very light material is used in a wide variety of items within hospitals and health care facilities. Like aluminum and stainless steel PVC is does not rust and it is resistant to molds and mildew.

The bins or baskets of the linen trolley can be made of a variety of different materials. A very lightweight option is a canvas or vinyl bag that fits into the frame of the cart. These can be easily removed from the frame to lift the entire contents and transfer it to a washer or sorting area. Poly or fiberglass shelves, bins or cabinet types of options do not add a lot of weight to the frame but provide more options for using the cart with pre-sorted clean linens. Staff can easily glance at the shelves and remove the supplies needed in each particular room of the hospital. With optional covers that can be rolled down or placed over the open sides these linen trolley models will quickly convert to clean linen storage units.  Covers can be made of mesh or vinyl depending on the particular style of linen cart and the needs of staff.

Is there a good option for keeping laundry from different patients or rooms separate in an efficient and effective way?
Three Shelf Enclosed Landry Cart
A resident cart that has wire or plastic bins is really the way to go when you need to move a variety of different items between the laundry and the rooms. Each room or person can have his or her own bin or shelf that is divided off from and separate from anyone else's laundry. The linen trolley shelves or baskets can be labeled with room numbers or names so there is never any confusion.
In addition smaller linen carts of any style can be used in particular rooms. These can also be identified on a label card and kept separate through the entire laundry system. Rolling hampers are another popular option for use in a patient room or in a particular area of a facility. Rolling hampers offer the option of larger items being moved to the laundry that may not be appropriate for smaller bin designs.

How flexible or adjustable is a linen trolley for carrying a variety of different linen items within a facility?
Wheeled Enclosed Linen Trolley
Depending on the style that is selected there can be a wide range of options for changing the configuration and storage space in the cart. Most designs will have fully adjustable shelves that can be moved to create larger spaces for bigger items or smaller spaces for small items. Most designs offer the adjustment along a pre-set track which means there is no need for specific types of tools to change the shelf. The shelves can be easily locked into place with the use of clips and insets to prevent the shelf from moving or sliding when the unit is in motion.

Other systems allow bins and dividers to be added to selves to create various configurations for storage. Some carts may offer the option of a full bulk type bin or the option for shelving. These turnaround bins allow the shelves to flip up against an open side, creating a wire wall to allow bulk storage. Simply flipping the shelves down on the support pole turns this full bulk bin into individual storage areas that can be accessed from the open side of the bin. This is a cost and space saving idea if a facility wants to have various storage and transport options using the same trolley.

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Medical Scales for Office or Home Use

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What types of readouts are available with medical scales that can be used in institutions and medical facilities?

Medical scales come in a huge range of different styles. There are some that are traditional mechanical styles that allows the user or a staff member to manually move weights across a beam. When the scale balances the two weights, a heavier lower weight and a lighter upper weight are added together. Most mechanical scales have the option of reading in either metric or standard systems. These scales also can be read from both sides of the scale, which makes it easy for staff and patients alike.

You may also want to consider a digital readout model.  This is a LED display that is positioned at a convenient level to be easily read. It can be on the column on mechanical scales or it can be one the platform on a floor type. It is important to choose a LED display and background that provides enough contrast for easy and accurate reading of the information.

Mechanical style medical scales are a good option for many uses. These are very easy to read but may not be as accurate as they typically show only whole units of weight and not fractions. You would be able to weigh to the nearest pound or kilogram or approximate for ½ the distance for greater accuracy.

Can medical scales be use in the home and what would be the advantage over the commercial models available?

Medical scales, both mechanical and digital, are excellent for home use. This can be a very important consideration if you need accurate weight measurements that are to the nearest fraction provided by the readability of the scale. The heavier design and increased accuracy of these models over commercially available scales is the one big advantage. In addition many of the scales for home use cannot be calibrated or are very limited in their calibration which may cause increased inaccuracies in weight measurements over time.

Another major benefit to the medical models is that some come equipped with either the option to print out the information as well as an automatic option to store recordings right in the system. This allows the user to simply recall his or her last weight. For multiple users the system can be customized to store data separately, making it easy to see success in weight loss or weight gain efforts.

Medical options for home use can also be used to provide immediate BMI (Body Mass Index) information. With these types of models the individual keys in his or her height which is then stored in the system. Upon weighing a keypad control allows you to switch to instantly provide your current BMI and keep record of all changes.

How difficult is it to use mechanical scales when compared to digital scales that automatically provide the weight?

After you have learned how to correctly use the traditional models they are very simple and highly accurate. However, they do take a few minutes to use when compared to digital readout models. It is important to step up on the platform and allow the platform to completely stop moving before moving the weights. Weights need to be moved slowly when in the approximate weight range to get the most accurate reading.

It is also important to move the lower, heavy weight first and then move the lighter, top weight. Remembering to return both weights back to the zero notch on the beam is another additional step but this takes just a second.

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Cleaning Made Easier with a Proper Janitorial Cart

Monday, May 07, 2012

How are janitorial carts constructed and are they built to stand up to daily use in busy environments?
Maid carts, also known as janitorial carts, are designed be both practical as well as durable. They are typically made from aluminum that is both lightweight as well as being resistant to cosmetic damage, chemical spills and staining. Most carts will be painted to protect the metal and to provide a more aesthetically pleasing and neutral colored cart. The surface areas, including the durable metal frame or the plastic or poly shelves are all easily cleaned with any type of commercial disinfectant or cleaning solution. The surfaces are resistant to staining, discoloration, mold and mildew.

Special casters are found on many of the top of the line maid carts. They will vary in size based the size of the cart and its overall design. Larger casters and wheels are designed to make moving the cart easy for people of all sizes and physical abilities. Many offer the option to lock the back two casters while continuing to allow the front two to swivel. This allows maximum control when moving the cart even through busy hallways and traffic areas. It also makes turning the cart when moving forwards very controlled without putting additional stress on the operator. Allowing all four wheels to swivel allows the cart to be pushed either forwards or backwards or straight to either side without the need to turn the cart.

What ergonomic features are found in different janitorial carts to help staff?
Ergonomic features that are designed to provide ease of use and operation for staff are found on most models of janitorial carts. One design addition is a push handle that keeps the operators hands and shoulders at a comfortable level. This prevents having to bend over to push or pull the cart. It also ensures maximum control over the movement of the cart in any direction including straight ahead and when cornering.

Recessed bins on the top of the cart are designed to help staff store frequently used items in an easy to access area. No bending or squatting to get to the small items on the cart. Ledges that form the recessed part of the top shelf ensure that items are secure on the top shelf and will not roll off when the cart is moving. Adjustable shelving that doesn't require any tools to move the shelf also helps staff by allow customized configurations. This provides the option to keep everything together on one shelf for any given cleaning task.

Locking brakes that can be adjusted with a tap of the foot to either engage or disengage prevent bending over to use or release the brake or having to hold onto the cart to keep it from moving.  Staff can quickly engage the brakes whenever the cart is not in motion, providing an additional safety feature. 
How are janitorial carts different than utility carts and which is better for housekeeping services to use?

Both maid carts and utility carts are very handy to have within a facility. However, a utility cart is not designed specifically with janitorial services in mind. It is more of an all-purpose cart that can be used to move items and materials for all shapes and sizes. Utility carts tend to be open on all sides and most do not have adjustable shelves, although various models may offer some options for customization.

Carts specifically for housekeeping services have features that are designed to store and transport all types of cleaning supplies. They usually have either a trash bag system or a soiled linen bin in the cart, something that is never found in a utility cart. While both terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two options. Both are ideal for specific tasks but a janitorial cart is most recommended for housekeeping services.

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Airing Out Dirty Laundy Does Require a Cart

Friday, May 04, 2012

What is the major advantage to choosing covered or enclosed linen carts over an open design?

Multi Shelf Laundry Cart
Depending on the environment in which linen carts will be used either an enclosed or an open design may be the most effective. Obviously the biggest concern will be the need to protect clean linens from exposure to dust, debris or liquids with a particular environment. Typically the enclosed laundry carts are covered with a nylon or vinyl/nylon soft cover. This can be lifted up to expose the contents of the cart and then dropped back down and into place.

Closed carts do not necessarily provide full protection however. Airborne contaminants as well as dust and fine debris can still enter into the cart depending on the type of cover use. Cabinet style enclosed models provide the most significant protection while the soft cloth covers provide good levels of protection in most typical environments.

Typically any linen that is going to be moved around in a building, including a hospital or medical facility, laboratory or patient area should be covered while in transit. This minimizes the risk of contamination as well as keeps linens as clean as possible before use. Of course a covered design also gives you the option to store the clean linen right on the laundry cart until it is needed. This can save time in transferring linens into supply cabinets or cupboards and then back onto a cart at a later time.

What are the typical size options of linen carts and is there a best size?
There are many different sizes of linen carts available. The larger styles enclosed baskets with multiple adjustable shelves are a good option for large facilities or areas where the distance between the laundry and the various rooms or locations in the facility is significant. Larger carts prevent multiple trips. However, larger laundry carts are also more difficult to move through busy hallways and to take in and out of individual rooms. Often a combination of smaller and larger carts is the most effective option. This allows staff to choose the right sized laundry carts for the job to be as efficient as possible.
Multi Section Garment/ Laundry Cart
It is important to keep in mind that the size of the cart is not a factor in how easy it is to push or maneuver. The carts are designed with easy of movement in mind and with larger swivel casters they can be moved across either solid flooring or carpeted areas by staff. Handles also make pushing and turning the cart very easy regardless of weight and size. Larger carts do need more turning room and may not be ideally suited for moving in confined spaces such as elevators or narrow storage rooms.

Understanding the sizes and types of linens that will be moved throughout the facility is important in selecting linen carts. Having carts that are too small for the volume is not efficient or effective. On the other hand very large carts hauling small amounts is not a good use of your budget either. Most facilities will continue to expand so selecting carts both for today's needs as well as the foreseeable future is the best possible option.

In our facility we need options for moving both clean and soiled linen using the same cart. What options should we consider?

When both clean and soiled linen needs to be moved using the same transport cart an excellent choice includes a turnabout cart. This allows you to use it as a bulk bin for soiled laundry and, by flipping down the wire shelves that make up the side wall, it coverts to a multi-shelved cart that can also be used for storing the linen.

The wire shelves and the poly sides can be easily cleaned and disinfected between uses. This eliminates any contamination and, with quick drying materials, there is no time lost during the cleaning process.

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It's Not Your Mom's Laundry Basket

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

What options are available in laundry carts that could be used for both soiled and clean laundry transportation in large facilities?
There are a huge range of different options in transport carts for both soiled and clean laundry and linens. Some of the most popular for small loads and requirements are the wire carts, which are similar to the carts used in many public laundry facilities. They are ideal for moving through hallways and in rooms plus they are designed to be easy on staff for loading an unloading. Often these types of baskets are used in the laundry itself to move loads between the washers and dryers. With their lightweight frame yet large load capacity they are a tried and true option that is very durable for years of use.

For larger bulk movement of all types of linen items a transport basket type of laundry cart is a time saver. These large capacity bins on wheels have enough capacity to remove the linens from several rooms in one easy pass. Smaller options may be made of a variety of different materials including fiberglass, poly and vinyl/nylon laminate on aluminum or aluminum and stainless steel frames. Although slightly heavier than the wire options they are very durable and resistant to any type of damage even with heavy and continual use.

Some of the poly linen carts have an optional hinged lid that allows the cart to be closed between uses or during use. These carts may also be able to tilt, allowing very easy emptying of the contents of the cart at the laundry facility. These carts can also double for other transport of items as needed within a facility provided they do not exceed the recommended weight capacity of the individual cart.

In a different usage situations what is the best option in a laundry cart?

Narrow designs in wire basket carts are an excellent option in very small spaces or when limited movement of laundry is required. These carts will hold a standard load of laundry and, because of their narrow size, are very easily to maneuver in tight spaces. In busy hallways and traffic areas they are a good option since they are narrower than standard types of laundry carts. 

Another option for a limited use type laundry basket is a folding option. This linen cart is on wheels and is easy to move through the facility. When not in use it is folded up to lie flat, allowing it to be stacked against a wall or stored easily in a closet or supply area. It most closely resembles a hamper and can easily be left in a room and picked up when full. This makes these very practical in a wide range of settings including locker rooms, patient rooms, dormitories and kitchens. In addition the bag is easily washed and dried with the laundry, providing a practical way to keep equipment in top shape.

Are there any types of laundry carts that can be safely used in laboratory environments where acids and chemicals may be present on clothing and supplies that will be carried in the cart?

One of the biggest concerns in using standard types of hospital or industrial use linen carts in areas where acids and chemicals are used is that the carts may be damaged or there may be reactions with the cart material. In addition contamination from leaks may spread chemicals throughout the facility if the cart is not designed to prevent leaks. Using fiberglass carts prevents this issue. The fiberglass is resistant to chemical action and, even when acids are present, will not leak, stain or become damaged with exposure. They are also designed with a seamless bottom, ensuring there are no potential weak points in the bin. These carts come in a variety of sizes and options, including an optional soft cover which allows the cart to be easily converted into a storage space for either soiled or clean items.

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