Mark Steitz

Will Your Carts Be Ready When You Need Them?

In this edition of our newsletter, we explore two very important issues – fundamentals of managing your medical cart fleet and some enrichment activity ideas for your residents. Both are incredibly important, because your carts need to be ready when you need them and your patients need stimulating pursuits.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter! We encourage you to share it with colleagues, and contact us if there are any topics you’d like us to cover in the future!

The 6 Fundamentals of Medication Cart Fleet Management

Your facility needs medical carts that are reliable, high-quality, and will serve your organization for a long time. We have found that there are 6 essentials to making sure your carts stand up to rigorous, daily use.

1. Avoid Emergencies

Problems with your medical carts need to be solved as soon as possible, and often they are expensive if the facility is unprepared. The cost of storing a part doesn’t nearly compare with the time, dollars, and reputation lost when rushing a part order is needed. Doing so interrupts everyone’s routine, so it’s best to be prepared with parts that regularly need swapping out. Below, in the “Must Haves” section, we address which parts we suggest.

2. Keep It On Hand Or In A Travel Kit

It pays to have your delivery driver trained in the basics of part wear and installation. This can be accomplished with our full line of videos and manuals which help maintain a fully-functioning fleet of carts.

3. Must Haves

Some basic tools should be available, including both Philips and flathead screwdrivers, common wrench sizes, and any other tools related to your specific carts.
You also might want to consider having on hand replacements for parts that receive a lot of wear and tear, including casters, slides, and narc and cabinet locks. You always need your carts to roll easily, the drawers to operate seamlessly, and locks to do their job. Having these parts on standby ensures you can quickly bring your carts back to just about new in no time flat.

Access is everything! We recommend you make sure the master key and control key are secure while also being easily accessible for authorized staff members.

4. An Ounce of Prevention

… is worth a pound of cure! This proverb reminds us that avoiding something is easier than repairing damage after the fact. Preventative maintenance on your carts can help prevent certain maintenance emergencies that will affect your staff and patient care.
Annually, we recommend using Triflow to lubricate the locks on your carts. Graphite, grease, and oils should not be used as they will attract dirt, dust, and particles causing the locks to fail.

For jammed or stuck locks (meaning the key will not turn), use WD-40 which will remove dirt and particles that have built up over time. Keep in mind that doing so will also remove lubrication, so once each lock is operational again, follow up with Triflow.

Most casters have sealed precision bearings that require no maintenance and will last the lifetime of your carts. If your manufacturer does not provide these types of casters, we suggest you ask for them. They don’t add much to the cost but are significantly better.

Regularly, you should test the drawers, listening for a scraping sound or a feeling of resistance when fully extending the slide. If you find either, the slides need to be replaced.

5. Reduce, Reuse, Restore

Is there a “boneyard” of carts in your facility? You can make them into a usable fleet again through restoration! Some cart providers (including us) will assist you with instructions and easy-to-order parts that will allow you to replace nearly everything on them. You can swap these restored carts with those that look worn and may make a bad impression on clients. Also, aging carts are more prone to frequent part failures, but swapping them for restored carts provides your facility with peace of mind and carts that work like new.

6. Make Sure You Receive the Right Part

There is nothing more frustrating than when you’re trying to repair a cart and you receive the wrong part. To avoid this, make sure you have the serial number, use manuals and website forms to describe exactly what you need, and don’t be shy about asking for assistance when choosing parts and placing your order.

You’ll want to ask if the part(s) are covered under warranty too. From our experience, quality components will be covered for 5 years. By monitoring the cost of replacement parts, you may find the carts with the lowest prices actually cost more in the long run when trying to maintain and extend the life of them.

Keep your medication carts working for you as long as possible by following these 6 fundamentals. As always, if you have any questions about cart maintenance or adding to your fleet, contact us!

More News from Phoenix

It was great seeing everyone at GeriMed earlier this month!

A big ‘Thank You’ for all who stopped by our booth. It was a pleasure meeting you and showing you our latest and greatest medication management solutions.

Have You Considered These Engagement Activities For Your Residents?

As stated in our previous newsletter, engagement extends lives. In that article, we mentioned two options: tablet or phone apps (such as crossword and jigsaw puzzles) and watching game shows on TV or YouTube. The latter can also create interaction and socialization between your residents, which is another key to living longer. You can encourage them to shout out the answers, and even turn it into a fun game with the winner receiving a prize!

It’s important to always keep in mind cognitive capabilities and physical restrictions, so we offer below several options with more to come in future newsletters –

Keep reading for more resident engagement ideas!

Playing Cards

According to The International Playing-Card Society, there are up to 10,000 games that can be played with either one deck or a few decks of cards. Surely there are dozens that would be perfect for the residents in your facility.

Matching pairs, putting a deck of cards in order, or solitaire are good options for the cognitively-impaired, while gin, rummy, hearts, and spades are good options for others. Perhaps a casino night would be fun with card games like blackjack and poker taken right from the Vegas tables. Your staff could even teach residents how to play these and more casino-centric games – there are plenty to choose from.

Physical Activity

Exercises that have been adapted to your residents’ abilities can provide mental stimulation as well as necessary movement of their bodies. This can be either as simple as passing inflated beach balls around the room or investing in a gaming system that has a sports game. The Wii system comes to mind, as Wii Sports makes it possible for almost all residents – whether confined to a wheelchair or able to walk briskly – fun options for some physical activity.

Pet Therapy

It’s no secret that animal companionship brings so many benefits to people, so why not look into some furry visitors? There are many groups you can find online that can bring dogs, cats, pigs (guinea or pot-bellied), and more to your facility. Those who have been pet owners in the past will appreciate being able to hold or pet a four-legged friend again, and more shy residents might show their personality more. Even frustrations from cognitive difficulties can be eased through the unconditional love of a pet therapy visitor.

Fun With Food

There are so many opportunities throughout the year to bring baked goods and creations through cooking into resident activities, including holidays and “National Day of…” recognitions. You certainly don’t need an “excuse” like that to invite residents to bake or frost cookies or brownies though! They can even be the entire facility’s dessert for the afternoon or evening. This activity works on dexterity and hand-eye coordination, all while bringing a creative element to the endeavor. Remember, other deeds, too, such as coloring Easter eggs, popping popcorn on movie nights, and helping prepare meals allows for socialization, utilizing skills, and provides engagement and interaction. Food presents so many different ways to involve residents and give them the enrichment and gentle activity they need.

Which of these activities do you think your facility can or would implement to make sure your residents are mentally enriched and engaged?

Our medication management solutions, our staff, and our 24/7/365 urgent support team are here to make your experience extraordinary, safe, and smooth