Hospital storage – cleanliness and access
Storage solutions for hospitals can often be a complex and confusing business – which is why it’s crucial, for a patient and staff safety perspective to have a robust, hygienic system to fall back on.
Medicine storage is an area that requires two key considerations – the ability to be able to tell the difference between products, whilst storing as much as possible in a small area safely, and the ability to secure and lock up medicines when they are not in use.
Storage for large amounts of medicines would rapidly become inefficient and dangerous if using drawers and emptying the pills into each hopper – one mistake and the wrong meds could be stored in the wrong place, so most medications are stored in their boxes, with multiples of boxes stored together. This system works best on rotating shelves, that either rotate vertically, or in a circle. Vertical rotation shelves also require covers that snap down over the meds, allowing them to ‘roll’ round the display, like a 360 degree rolodex. As these displays are frequently wire or solid shelves and plastic snap down covers, they are easy to clean and sterilise, and store medicines safely.
A large circular rotating shelf unit is also a good choice for pharmacies – this gives the ability to store higher demand products nearer the front of the pharmacy, without compromising on safety.
Older pharmacy units do use drawers, but ensure they are deep enough to store the meds, in box.
On ward storage comes in a variety of types – but is usually a lockable trolley and a separate lockable unit for medicines such as morphine or other highly dangerous meds that can only be dispensed under supervision.
Ward storage and beyond
Ward storage is often minimal – to allow the ease of movement of patients between units and the ease of cleaning the room and objects in it. There is usually no shelving in the ward itself, and storage closets and a small kitchen or galley is often on the ward, separate from the patient area. This lets the staff concentrate on caring for the patient, instead of constantly cleaning.
All storage units in a hospital are designed to be easy to clean – yet rugged enough to withstand continual deep cleaning – storage rooms and their contents are frequently sterilised to support the cleanliness of the hospital, while storage systems are standardised.
The most popular solutions
The most popular solutions at present are roller racks for records – big bookcase sized products that can be stacked together or opened out to access an area – and can provide up to 80% more storage, simply by stacking them – there’s no gaps between book cases and they roll efficiently or can be locked easily. Shelving and roller racks are used elsewhere too – wherever records or files need to be stored.
Cupboards too have had a makeover and are designed to store as much as possible without clutter –drawers for anything to be stored on the wards are usually placed within these units. Mobile storage for files and other items is also of utmost importance and is designed around ease of use. These solutions and the others currently employed allow hospitals to keep track of their most important items, without compromising on cleanliness.