Medical crash carts are a critical part of the medical industry. They allow medical professionals to provide rapid response to codes, meaning the difference between life and death for patients. They are more than merely a medication cart because they contain everything needed in terms of medication and equipment in a life-saving emergency.
Crash carts from Scott-Clark Medical are a full-service solution to providing urgent patient care. With convenient portability and storage, your emergency care team can provide fast medical responses to a patient in distress.
Having these critical care supplies on hand increases average response times and allows you to better care for patients requiring medical services.
What is a Medical Crash Cart?
A medical crash cart is a portable cart used by medical facilities to treat medical emergencies quickly and efficiently. It is stocked with a wide selection of easily accessible equipment and medication suitable for dealing with codes, or basic life-saving procedures, such as resuscitation.
A crash cart combines the features of a medical rolling cart, a dispensing unit, and an equipment center. It can carry the medication and medical supplies to the site and allow staff to quickly retrieve and use what they need to provide cardiac life support.
What is a Medical Crash Cart Used For?
The crash cart is mobile and can be wheeled to the location where it is required. It can also be moved around a room or ward to allow medical staff to take a patient’s blood pressure, check their vital signs, or perform stress testing.
Hospital staff need these mobile, single units to respond to medical emergencies, such as a severe allergic reaction, cardiac arrest (e.g., heart attack), and other situations with sudden deterioration of vital signs.
They can access a wide variety of advanced life-saving equipment within seconds, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation equipment like defibrillators and endotracheal tubes, IV fluids, vital medication, and other equipment.
Medical crash carts or code carts are not found everywhere in medical settings and typically have specific locations that allow access to many hospital settings. The most common places to put them are in an operating room, an emergency department, or an outpatient surgery center.
They are commonly stationed near any area that might require immediate access to emergency medications or life-saving medical equipment.
How are Crash Carts Organized?
The emergency cart contents and organization may vary depending on the facility or treatment area where you use the cart. Although there is no standardized crash cart, there is a basic crash cart organization standard found in all types of medical facilities, making the organization of emergency medical equipment easier.
The defibrillator at the top of the emergency cart should be ready for use as soon as needed and checked daily to ensure it is in good working order. Defibrillation pads should be multipurpose for use in various situations. There should also be separate infant pads and paddles in pediatric care facilities.
Oxygen supplies and valves should be easily accessible to treat breathing and non-breathing patients requiring respiratory support. These supplies and valves should include a few choices of face mask size, including an infant face mask.
The oxygen tank should be secure on the side of the cart. The pressure or oxygen level in the tank should be checked regularly, dated, and signed off on by the staff member who performs the inspection.
Medical personnel should also store a CPR backboard and a resuscitation tape for pediatric patients outside the cart.
Emergency cart medications are typically in the top drawers. Some facilities use the top two drawers to separate general substances from facility-specific ones. For example, if you have pediatric and adult common emergency drugs, you might store the standard crash cart medical emergency drugs in the first drawer and the pediatric medications in the second.
Emergency medicines can be set out in rows within the drawer, with each row containing medications for different purposes. For example, medications used when treating cardiac arrest are typically kept closer to the front for faster access.
Easy access to intubation
Intubation equipment is a critical element of any basic emergency crash cart. Most crash carts feature a drawer dedicated to intubation gear, including oral and nasal airway tubing, bag valve masks, oxygen masks, endotracheal tubes, laryngoscopes, and more.
Intubation equipment must be easy to access, sorted by size, and, if applicable, separated into adult and pediatric categories.
The materials needed to start an IV line should have their own drawer in the crash cart. This drawer should include various sizes of spinal needles, flush syringes, tourniquet tubing, and other variable equipment so any patient can be treated. You may choose to keep the IV solutions in the drawer for easy access.
It’s common to store the equipment needed for medical procedures in the bottom drawer, often the fifth drawer, of the medical cart set. This equipment is designed to be used for a range of emergency procedures that are usually required during a code.
The equipment should be prepared in kits, with each kit specified for a particular procedure or emergency. Sterile gloves and sutures should also be included in this drawer for access at the same time as the procedure kit.
Types of Crash Carts
Although crash carts are often similar, some have specific purposes. These purposes vary based on the necessary equipment or medication and the organization of the cart.
The contents of a particular cart depend primarily on the type of facility and emergency medical situations. A fleet of crash carts in an age-specific facility (e.g., pediatric crash carts, geriatric facility carts) might need particular medications or equipment that cannot be found in a general clinic.
The purpose of a crash cart may also change depending on its location in the facility. An urgent care center’s medical cart can differ from a crash cart kept in an operating room.
Inventory and Maintenance
Ensuring that an up-to-date inventory is maintained for your comprehensive emergency cart is essential. Knowing which medications, equipment, and diagnostic supplies are on the cart maintains safety and prevents wasting time.
Another issue is that medication and other types of emergency equipment might be subject to expiration dates. Keep a schedule of when to check for expiration dates and note when they are on a separate document to refill the cart when necessary.
Ensure you have a specific schedule for inventories on each crash cart at your medical practice, with a log of who performed the checks. There should also be a record of what was replaced and when. Keeping a record can avoid potential medication mistakes, as well as dangerous situations such as empty oxygen tanks being left unfilled.
Should You Customize Your Crash Cart?
Customizing your crash cart means meeting the unique medical needs of your facility. When considering custom features such as storage drawers and a sharps container, make sure you discuss the design with a professional who has experience in this area. The cart should be easy to understand and to use, allowing it to assist with any emergency.
The regulations required for your type of practice may vary depending on the state in which you operate. Make sure to check if there are any additional rules to follow when setting up or maintaining your crash cart.
How Can Technology Help Improve a Crash Cart?
Although the crash cart will be mobilized when a code occurs, it is still a part of the patient’s broader care. Having computer technology available on the cart will allow those using it to access electronic records.
Easy access to patient files, or additional information on the procedure or treatment at hand, can significantly speed up the activities of the medical staff. This access can also help prevent errors in an emergency situation.
Nurses and other medical professionals may be able to input patient data using the crash cart, which can help to improve accuracy and patient communication. By choosing a mobile computer option, you can retain the all-important speed and maneuverability of the crash cart while still enjoying the benefits of a medical computer cart.
Scott-Clark Medical Helps You Help Others More Efficiently
Scott-Clark Medical is a leader in the mobile medical cart industry, responsible for numerous innovative technologies such as the FMCPT System. If you’re looking to build a fleet of highly reliable crash carts for your medical office or type of practice, we have the solutions you need. For a quote or more information, contact us today.