Using MDS Drugs Trolleys in Practice.

Advice on the safe use of MDS drugs trolleys from Pharmacy Medical

Drugs trolleys are a common and well used method of dispensing controlled drugs and medicines within the care home environment. It is of paramount importance that due consideration is given to the safe operation and use of MDS Drugs trolleys. The incorrect use and operation of a drugs trolley may result in damage to furniture or at worse case; in personal injury.

It is important that operators of drugs trolleys are made aware of their correct and safe use.

A drugs trolley is effectively a medicine or controlled drugs cabinet that moves so care must be taken at all times.

Pre-flight checks.

It is advisable to check the drugs trolley over daily before using it on the drugs round. A quick visual check of the castors to ensure they are in good order and have not been damaged or worked loose will ensure the unit’s safe mobility and manoeuvrability. Check that the shelves are fitted correctly and have not jolted loose. Ensure the rubber bumpers are in good order to prevent possible damage to door frames.


Safe loading of drugs and medicines in the drugs trolley.

There are many and varied sizes of drugs trolleys available. It is important to ensure the operator is made aware of their individual characteristics. For instance, a unit with a small footprint may be less stable than a drugs trolley with a larger footprint. More care may be needed in manoeuvring these smaller trolleys around the care home.

When loading the drugs and medicines in the drugs trolley consider the weight distribution. Ensure that the heaviest packets and bottles are placed on the lower shelves This will lower the centre of gravity of the drugs trolley and make the unit more stable during the drugs round. It is important that the operator is made aware that if heavy items are placed on the higher shelves then the unit may become unstable especially when negotiating slopes or bumps. I may become an occurrence, due to operator error to overload the upper shelves. This may be because the operator may not wish to continuously bend down to retrieve or replace the drugs or medicines on the lower shelves. This overloading of the upper shelves on the drugs trolley may cause it to become unstable when being moved. The operator needs to be retrained if this practice is noted.

safe use of mds drugs trolleys loaded trolley door

Where provided in the drugs trolley, door shelves should not be overloaded. If too much weight is placed in the trolley doors, then the trolley may be come unstable when the doors are opened. The practice of loading too much product in the doors and less in the main body of the drugs trolley can make the trolley unstable when the doors are opened. Here at Pharmacy Medical we manufacture our drugs trolleys with a weighted base to give more stability to the unit. However, if the above advice is not followed then there is the possibility if not operated correctly that a drugs trolley could be pulled over.

Moving a drugs trolley safely

When moving a drugs trolley around the care home or medical premises the trolley should be pushed or pulled with both hands placed on the handles which are provided at each end of the unit. Ensure that the trolley doors are closed and locked with the keys removed to prevent damage. Be aware of any obstacles or changes of level in the floor which may cause an obstruction.

When dispensing drugs to a patient away from the drugs trolley ensure the doors are locked with the keys removed.

Storage of the drugs trolley.

When not in use and at the end of the drugs round the drugs trolley should be locked to a fixed point on a wall with suitable fixing device. This should be located within a locked room to which access is restricted to authorised persons only.

We hope this advice which is given in good faith is helpful. Should you wish to discuss any aspect of it we would welcome your comments or questions.

Securing an MDS Drugs trolley