Cardiac and Respiratory Emergencies: Everything Rural Hospitals Need to Know About Crash Cart Supplies

Rural hospitals face different challenges than those in larger cities. The location of rural hospitals put these facilities at a disadvantage. Doctors often need to stabilize patients quickly before transporting them to a bigger facility. Fully stocked crash carts may be the only way to save a coding patient before moving them to a city hospital. Here’s how rural hospitals can ensure their crash carts can handle any emergency situation.

Inspect Crash Carts Regularly
Unlike larger hospitals, many rural facilities don’t use their Hospital Crash Carts on a regular basis. However, almost every item inside the cart has an expiration date. It’s important to inspect crash carts frequently and restock any outdated supplies. For instance, make sure the epinephrine hasn’t expired, and always keep the defibrillator machine and monitor fully charged. These small steps will ensure your crash cart is ready if a patient codes.

Prepare for Pediatric Patients
Rural hospitals don’t operate on the same budget as those in metropolitan areas. Many small hospitals don’t have a designated pediatric crash cart. However, doctors can’t use the same life-saving medications and equipment on younger patients. If a pediatric crash cart isn’t in the budget, consider filling one drawer of the adult crash cart with pediatric supplies. Be sure to train staff on the correct procedures to use during pediatric emergencies.

Look for Ways to Reduce Waste
Speaking of tight budgets, rural hospitals often struggle to fill their crash carts with the latest medications. Buying medical supplies is always a risk in rural areas because many will expire before being used. Hospitals can save money by looking for more cost-effective solutions. For instance, a cardiac arrest medication with a longer shelf life may help reduce waste. Cycling commonly used supplies throughout other parts of the hospital is another way to use up supplies before they expire. These supplies may include alcohol swabs or saline flush syringes.

Reevaluate Airway Equipment
Rural hospitals don’t always have the same specialty doctors available as those in larger cities. This is especially true during respiratory distress. Intubating a patient requires specialized training. Many rural clinics don’t have someone trained in intubation on staff. Your crash cart needs a variety of airway devices, endotracheal tubes, and supplies to stabilize a respiratory patient if intubation isn’t an option. Store these items in a drawer of the crash cart, and make sure to replace any supplies as they near the expiration date.

Pay Attention to Portable Suction
Most rural hospitals don’t have in-wall suction at every bed. Instead, they rely on portable suctions machines inside the crash cart for this purpose. It’s crucial to ensure the portable suction machine remains fully charged at all times. Your crash cart also needs a variety of tubes and canisters to meet the requirements of every patient. Inspect the machine frequently to ensure it provides both lower and more powerful suction.

Crash Carts Save Lives
While it’s true that rural hospitals don’t treat as many patients as those in big cities, they are still valuable to the community. After all, you never know when a true emergency will walk through the doors. A person can code unexpectedly, so the crash cart must contain all the machines and supplies needed to save the patient. Following these simple steps will ensure the crash carts in your rural hospitals are ready for anything.



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