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When storing prescription medications, it’s not the storage itself that’s problematic for transmission, it’s how the medications are stored and accessed that makes the difference. Minimal touch storage solutions are optimal for reducing transmission.
Storage and packaging are closely related. In Part I of this series we compared punch card packaging to single use packaging. Single use pouch packaging is ideal for reducing points of transmission. Here we explore the role of medication storage in transmission.
Download a PDF of the complete “Raising Awareness of Transmission Risks” series.
Medication carts became popular in the early 2000’s to address a number of medication storage and administration challenges in nursing homes and medical facilities, namely security, safety, and mobility. In the wake of COVID-19, transmission prevention has joined the mix and understandably become a top priority. While medication carts are convenient for accessing medications, what and how you store medications within the cart have a significant impact on transmission potential.
Punch cards were the original go-to companion for the medication cart. We’ve since discovered the drawbacks of this pairing system in both transmission and time consumption.
Punch card filing forces nurses into a multi-touch process. The more a nurse has to handle medication packaging within the cart, the more opportunities to inadvertently introduce unwanted pathogens. Not to mention the wasted time that comes from “leafing through” the side by side filing system inherent to punch cards.
SimplePacks on the other hand–Grane Rx’s multi-dose pouch packaging system–solves this problem by providing patient medications in pre-packaged rolls assembled via “no-touch” automation in the pharmacy. The packaged rolls are then stored in individual patient bins within the medication cart. Storing rolls of medications eliminates the need for a nurse to rifle through the cart and unnecessarily touch anything other than what the nurse actually needs.
Grane Rx’s SimplePack and bin solution significantly reduces transmission potential and provides organized, easy to access and secure medication storage.
PACE centers have traditionally faced the same storage and transmission challenges as nursing facilities. That is until Grane Rx introduced the Meds2Home program. Meds2Home significantly reduces the need for center medication administration and virtually eliminates the need for any onsite storage of patient medications. Instead, patient medications are packaged in multi-dose pouch packs–SimplePacks–at Grane Rx’s offsite pharmacy and shipped securely and directly in personalized Meds2Home boxes to the participant’s home with a contactless delivery protocol. With Meds2Home, nearly all external handling of participant medications is eliminated.
In a post-pandemic world, Meds2Home provides an optimal transmission mitigation solution with the added benefits of convenience, increased adherence and accuracy.
Prescription changes and unanticipated medication needs require both SNF and PACE centers to store an inventory of medications onsite in case of emergency. This emergency supply requires the same storage and transmission considerations as any other medication storage. Grane Rx’s SimpleAccess electronic medication cabinets safely store, manage and dispense medications at point of care providing nurses with quick and easy access to single unit doses of packaged medications.
To reduce transmission and ensure the safe storage of emergency medications, Grane Rx’s SimpleAccess cabinets have multiple enhanced safety features including automated inventory management, formulary flexibility, remote temperature management, unique drawers for high-risk medications and controlled substances, barcode scanning capabilities and more.
The recent pandemic has given us cause to reexamine the role of medication administration in disease transmission and assess how we can mitigate potential risks in both clinical and non-clinical settings…