Whenever a medical emergency strikes, doctors and nurses may only have a few seconds to intervene. A crash cart is one of the most important tools inside a hospital. These devices contain life-saving equipment to help save coding patients. Here are the features that every cart should have:
The Right Equipment
An Emergency Crash Cart should contain a variety of medical devices and tools. The equipment stored inside may vary depending on a facility’s supply and needs, but there are a few staples. For instance, cardiac arrest remains one of the top reasons that patients code. A defibrillator and heart monitor are an absolute must inside any cart.
A portable suction machine, oxygen, and masks are also essential to save patients during respiratory failure. If a patient’s airways become blocked, having an intubation drawer is extremely helpful. This section should also contain tongue depressors, bite blocks, and intubation tubes of all sizes.
Most crash carts have several drawers. It’s critical to clearly label and organize these drawers. Depending on the size of the cart, it may contain an IV drawer, medication drawer, and intubation drawer. If there’s enough room leftover, creating a pediatric drawer is very helpful. The tools used on younger patients are much smaller than the adult-sized equivalent. A pediatric drawer will help reduce confusion when looking for something quickly.
Plenty of Medication
During a medical emergency, doctors don’t always have time to run out of the room for medication. The more reliable crash carts contain a well-stocked supply of the most commonly used drugs. Aspirin, calcium chloride, and amiodarone are beneficial to have on hand during cardiac events. Diabetic patients may need dextrose or vasopressin. Alongside these medications, make sure the cart has plenty of alcohol swabs, syringes, and sterile water.
Medical Waste Bins
The risk of infection increases significantly during an emergency procedure. Certain procedures may require the use of hypodermic needles or syringes. Every crash cart should contain at least one separate waste bin. The bin should only hold bio-hazardous waste, such as sharps and medications. Having access to a designated medical waste bin helps to maintain a hygienic environment.
Crash carts are expensive, and smaller hospitals often only have one or two. That’s why it is so important to make sure the cart is mobile. Nurses need to be able to move it from room to room quickly and easily. Swiveling wheels allow for fast turns and better maneuvering. A locking mechanism on the wheels and casters will keep the cart still and steady when in use. It’s also a good idea to choose a cart with a slim profile that can fit in tight spaces.
Crash carts may contain dangerous instruments and certain controlled substances. While valuable in a clinical setting, many drug addicts seek out these items and may try to steal them. That’s why locking trays are essential. Modern locks are electronic, assuring only authorized individuals can gain access. Locking trays protect the hospital from potential liabilities and ensure the facility stays in compliance with local laws.
Crash Carts Save Lives
Time is of the essence during a medical emergency, and when a patient codes, doctors need to take action immediately. Crash carts make it possible to treat cardiac and respiratory failure faster than ever. Hospitals should stock and inspect their carts regularly to ensure they have everything needed to help save lives.