Manufacturers make medical supply or medical equipment carts for a variety of purposes. Many come pre-equipped with power and certain built-in items like special locking drawers for medicines or IV poles.

You can buy a medical cart off-the-shelf or have it factory-customized to meet your exact purpose. Used or refurbished carts are also cost-savings methods to help hospitals obtain the right sort of cart to improve patient care.

Basic Carts

The basic cart generally comes with a table or working space, drawers and cabinets, and casters for mobility on any hospital or clinic surface.

Most carts are made of steel, polymer or wood. The carts usually have special attachments to the casters to help minimize contamination by bits of gauze, material, and dirt.

Organization is important for any cart too. Each facility using carts must develop a system and carefully label each drawer and section of the cart.

Emergency Room or Crash Carts

Most clinics and hospitals have at least one crash cart. For multi-story facilities, one emergency cart per floor is the norm.

The carts contain all the supplies needed for general emergency response such as defibrillators, IV bags and fluids, needles, emergency medicines, intubation supplies, and other life-saving items.

The medicine drawers of a crash cart must allow quick access while at the same time ensuring the security of the drugs inside.

Medication Carts

Medication carts contain a good cross-section of medications used in whatever facility you operate.

Medication carts today have high-tech ways to ensure accountability for narcotics and opioids. The drawers may have RFID unlock systems that will record who opened the drawer and when.

They also come with bar scanning technology to reduce the risk of administering the incorrect medication.

Isolation Carts

An isolation cart is usually placed outside any isolation ward or emergency room area. The carts contain personal protection items such as gloves, masks, and gowns to help isolate and prevent the spread of any highly contagious pathogens.

Manufacturers construct these carts to make it easy to clean and sanitize them between uses.

Aesthesia Carts

Hospitals pre-stock aesthesia carts with all the equipment and medicines needed during surgical procedures.

Aesthesia carts typically have a combination of manual and automatic locking drawers to ensure equipment and medicines can be obtained quickly in an emergency.

This portable storage cart on wheels is easily maneuverable so it can be accessed quickly.

They can be customized with a range of peripheral options such as sharps containers and trash bins.

Blood Bank Carts

Blood bank carts often serve several purposes. The carts need certain equipment necessary to draw blood, but also can store and transport the blood back to the hospital or clinic.

The carts must be easy to break down and set up for transport and use. These carts may come equipped with more than one IV pole.

Transfer Carts

Transfer carts move various types of medical supplies around a hospital. These carts need the ability to transport a wide variety of supplies and equipment from one patient room or treatment area to another.

Transfer carts may have a modification to hang several battery packs, for example. If powered medical devices are used, you many need battery systems integral to the carts.

The carts may need extra drawers for different types of medicines with extra security given the carts will travel extensively throughout a facility, allowing possible access by different groups of people.

Cart Maintenance

General maintenance of all carts requires establishing certain procedures that clearly outline roles and responsibilities.

Someone on each shift, for example, should be responsible for ensuring supplies are replenished, and the carts wiped are down with disinfectant.

Emma Reed has a background in Psychology (B.A.) and Medical Anthropology (M.S.) and writes for a variety of medical publications. Her passion is making cutting-edge medical information accessible to a wider audience, and her work often examines the intersections of sociology, anthropology, and medicine.
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