Also referred to as a code cart or MAX cart, a crash cart is a portable trolley designed to store and dispense medication and other medical supplies during an emergency medical situation. When your doctors and nurses are trying to save the life of a patient who is in critical condition, every second matters.

Therefore, you need to make their work easy by installing fully loaded carts in all your emergency rooms and other crash cart locations of your facility that deal with critical medical cases. But for your crash cart setup to serve their intended purpose, they have to be properly arranged to make accessibility of medical supplies easy and fast. This article talks about how to arrange a crash cart.

Contents Of A Crash Cart

For you to arrange your crash cart properly, you have to understand its contents. This will help you decide what goes where. The items stored on a crash cart vary from one medical facility to another, but generally consist of medical tools and medications needed to treat patients who are in critical condition.

The most common medical supplies and equipment stored in this crash include monitors, defibrillators, suction devices, bag valve masks, advanced cardiac life support drugs, first-line drugs, rapid sequence intubation drugs, pediatric equipment, and other drugs chosen by the central supply.     

Best Way To Arrange A Crash Cart

There are several important considerations you have to make when you are arranging your crash cart. For instance, think about the emergency situations your facility handles most of the time. That way, you will be able to keep the most important medical tools and drugs within your grasp to save time when attending to a patient. You also need to consider the accessibility of medical items on the cart.

Simply put, the arrangement of your crash cart should make your work easier and allow you to handle all kinds of emergency situations calmly and conveniently. Remember that your facility’s emergency preparedness determines its success in saving patients’ lives. Here is a simple and effective way to arrange your crash cart.

Top Of The Crash Cart

The top of a crash cart should carry gloves, monitors, and other related life support tools, defibrillators with leads and paddles, and a sharps disposal container. Make sure the defibrillator you put on your crash cart is multipurpose so that it can be used in various emergency situations.

The sides and back of the crash cart should carry things like the oxygen tank, regulators, backboard (cardiac), and handheld suction tools. These items are essential in an emergency because they offer the necessary life support when a patient is staring death in the face.

First Drawer

The first drawer should have the ECG gel and all the electrodes for both adults and children. The electrodes are attached to a machine that registers the heart’s electrical activity. When analyzed accurately, an ECG helps to detect and monitor various heart conditions, including arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, and electrolyte imbalance.

Second Drawer

Use the second drawer to manage your airways. This drawer is also referred to as the intubation drawer, as it carries all the necessary intubation materials. An intubation drawer should carry important items such as the endotracheal tubes, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal airways, laryngoscope handle and blades, a flashlight, syringes to inflate the cuff on the endotracheal tube, bite block, nasal filter lines, tongue depressor, battery, stylets, ET tubes, Magill forceps, disposable airways, syringes, pieces of Dyna plaster, and laryngeal masks.  

Third Drawer

As you organize your crash cart, make sure that the equipment needed to start an IV is kept in a separate drawer from the other materials needed to maintain an IV, including the fluids in the tubes. This drawer should therefore carry all the necessary IV materials, including an IV start kit, catheters, disinfectants, disposable syringes, tourniquet tubes, vacutainers, and IV solutions.

You can also keep your pressure monitoring line, disposable needles, disposable kidney tray, Burette set, posiflush, 3-way stopcocks, and IV sets with extensions in this drawer.

Fourth Drawer

This drawer is also known as the medication drawer as it carries different types of medications including high-alert medications such as Adrenaline 1mg/ml-1, Amiodarone 150mg/3ml-2, Dopamine 200mg in 5ml-2, Dobutamine 250mg in 5ml or 20ml-2, and 50% Dextrose 50ml-1.

Fifth Drawer

In the fifth drawer, you should keep all your IV fluids, including 1000 ml each of D5W, RL, NS, 500 ml each D5W, NS, and 100 ml NS-2.

Tips For Arranging Your Crash Cart

There are several important steps you need to follow when arranging your crash cart. These steps will help you ensure that everything you want to keep on the crash cart goes to its proper place. These steps include:

  • Clearly labeling all your drawers to indicate the contents inside. That way, your medical staff won’t waste time going through every drawer in search of a particular item.
  • Clearly distinguishing pediatric items from adult supplies. You can do so by keeping them in separate compartments inside the drawers.
  • Designating one person to restock and manage the crash carts. This creates uniformity in all the carts, making it easier for your medical staff to use the carts during different emergency situations.
  • Placing your crash carts in an easy-to-access area. If possible, put your carts in a low-traffic area so your medical professionals don’t have to go through many people to get to the emergency room. The carts should only be moved from this location when they are in use.
  • Educating your hospital staff on proper patient care and how to use, restock, and locate crash carts during an emergency.

In summary, your crash carts should be arranged in a simple and orderly way that will make the work of your medical staff easy when attending to patients in critical conditions. Make sure that the most important medical supplies are at the top and all drawers and compartments are clearly labeled. When you choose a reputable and experienced brand like Waterloo, you can have all your crash carts customized to meet your workflow needs.