Anesthesia carts are an integral part of every medical facility, especially ones that handle emergencies requiring the administration of anesthesia. These carts are specifically designed to store the medical supplies and tools required for anesthesia administration in a portable unit that can be moved as needed, making your work as an anesthesiologist much easier. 

As a medical professional, you should have all your anesthesia tools and drugs well-organized so that you can easily access them when the need arises.

But for your anesthesia cart to serve you well, it has to be properly set up. So, what is the best setup when it comes to anesthesia carts? We’ll cover everything you’ll need to know about anesthesia cart setup, from the essential features to standardized options.

Check All Essential Features and Accessories

Before you start arranging your anesthesia cart, make sure it has all the necessary features and accessories required for daily use. For instance, make sure your cart has an adequate work surface to allow you to administer anesthesia effectively, as a  cluttered surface can be hazardous. You should also ensure that it has enough drawers and dividers to help you organize and store all the necessary supplies.

Don’t forget to check the wheels and casters on your cart because they will determine its portability, as you wouldn’t want a stuck wheel slowing you down in an emergency. A good anesthesia cart should also be made from highly durable materials, such as aluminum and steel to guarantee longevity. These materials are also ideal since they are easy to clean and disinfect, which will help prevent the spread of infectious viruses in your medical facility.

Keep Safety in Mind

A disorganized anesthesia cart is a safety risk, not only to the healthcare provider but also to the patient. If the healthcare provider needs to spend extra time sorting through and finding the right medical supplies, they put the patient at potential risk for increased levels of pain or in the event of an emergency, even death. So, when you are setting up your anesthesia cart, make sure everything is easily accessible.

Another important reason to separate medical supplies is to avoid picking the wrong drug when administering anesthesia. The use of drawer dividers and labels can help you organize your medical supplies in a way that prevents a potentially dangerous mix-up. For instance, anesthesia drugs for kids should be separated from those for adults. This arrangement also makes it easier for the central supply department to restock your carts when they are depleted.

Standardize Your Anesthesia Cart

Your anesthesia carts should be arranged and labeled in a standardized way, to make it easy for you to obtain specific medical supplies. The best way to achieve this is to label your drawers so that everyone knows what each drawer holds.

For instance, store all your anesthesia drugs in one drawer and label them clearly so that your colleagues know where to find the drugs easily. Another drawer should have all the syringes and needles. Ideally, the medical facility will have a single standardized way of arranging its entire fleet of anesthesia carts. That way, there will be no confusion when attending to patients.

Clear All Clutter

Don’t store items you don’t need in your anesthesia cart. They will congest your cart, making it impossible to organize and access efficiently. Also, make it a habit to routinely clean out your cart, removing outdated medicines and other supplies that are no longer needed. This helps you to keep your cart well-organized and fully stocked.

Having a systematic way in which you use items prevents your anesthesia cart from becoming a mess when treating a patient. It also makes it easier to get your cart back in order when required. You should make sure the cart is stocked, organized, and ready for use both before and after every shift.

Keep Your Cart Secure

Since you will be storing controlled substances, such as Schedule II, III, IV, and V drugs in your anesthesia cart, you have to ensure that they are fully secured in the cart. This means choosing a cart with a proper lock system. Most modern anesthesia carts have keyless locks that make use of pin codes and swipe cards, rather than traditional keys. These measures ensure that only authorized individuals can unlock the cart.

Your Cart Setup Should Serve Your Needs

Customizing your anesthesia cart makes its usage simple and convenient because you know where everything is located. By using different colors, patterns, and designs, you can personalize your cart for accessibility. You can also use customizable drawer dividers to make your cart fit the needs of your facility, by having a standardized storage layout across the entire fleet of carts. 

As you set up your anesthesia cart, remember that the safety of both you and your patients is of utmost importance. So arrange your cart in a way that allows you to serve your patients quickly, by keeping everything you’ll require right at hand.