How to Choose the Right Warming Cabinet for Your Facility

Posted by Monique Leifel on Categories: #blanket   #cabinet   #cabinets   #fluid   #warmer   #warmers   #warming  

Warming cabinets have been around since the 1930s, but are now becoming a much more central aspect of medical facilities to aid in preventing hypothermia as well as enhancing overall patient comfort.  Whether you are operating a full-service hospital or want to provide warm blankets to nursing home residents, it is important to pick the right cabinet to fulfill your facility’s needs.

How can you be sure you are picking the correct unit for your requirements and space?  Here are some variables to consider that will help make your decision easier.

Volume of Patient’s Needs

The first question to ask is what are your facility’s needs?  Do you have a large or small volume of patients requiring warmed fluids or blankets? 

Think about your facility’s size and examine what current patient trends are.  Consider how many units you want to purchase, and if you have the right amount of staff to restock them as well as to make sure they are functioning properly.  By analyzing your internal situation, your staff will better understand your volume demands, and also make sure you have the correct amount of employees at all times to fulfill these needs.

Available Space

The next variable to consider is where and how big of an area you have to fit the units.  Do you have room to place warmers throughout the facility or are you small enough to only need one designated area?  If space is an issue, or you simply want to maximize floor space, there are models that are stackable.  These will allow you to fit more units and exploit wall space to its fullest potential. 

Going for a stackable option also offers the potential for expansion.  While buying a deluxe or dual cavity unit might be a big initial investment, vouching for stackable units will allow for future expansion while also enabling you to still maximize the space-saving advantages.

In addition to this, some deluxe size warmers can maximize your available space even further by having one cavity designated for fluids and another for blankets.  This is important to keep in mind with space issues because blankets and fluids must be kept in separate compartments.

Warm-up Time

The speed of the warming cabinets is also an important factor to consider.  In hospitals, particularly emergency rooms, having too long of a warm-up time can cause serious issues for patients.  A liquid bag or blanket that is not heated to the correct temperature in an acceptable amount of time could cause a hypothermia victim to go into cardiac arrest. 

By observing trends and what type of patient situations your facility is dealing with, you will understand what type of warm-up time is acceptable.

How Fluid Temperatures Are Measured

For temperature accuracy, it is important to understand how the fluid or blanket¹s temperature is measured.  Many companies use different technology to warm as well as measure the temperature of their warming cabinets. 

For example, some devices measure the heat of the hot plate that materials are placed on or the circulating air within the cavity.  However, this is not always the most accurate measurement because it does not directly take into account the temperature of the individual fluid bag or blanket. 

The only way to be sure that fluids or blankets are safe for use is to know that the manufacturer has tested the temperature of individual bags or blankets, within the unit, before shipping the product out. This will help to eliminate extra risks.  However, it is also important that staff regularly check and log the temperature of individual materials taken out of the cabinet to ensure the unit is working efficiently.

Abbot Laboratory recommends IV bags be kept at 40° C (104° F) and irrigating solutions be kept at 65° C (150° F).  In addition the Association of Periopertative Registered Nurses (AORM) recommends that surgery suits and blankets, to be placed on the body, must be stored at 20°-22° C (68°-73° F).

Security Requirements

Finally, once the amount of volume, space, and temperature needed has been decided on, you must also consider what security requirements your facility has.  Is having a security key or keyless entry a function essential to comply with internal policies?  If it is, it is important to make sure the unit you are looking at has this function built in or the ability to add it.  By having this security feature, you will be able to comply with your internal regulations (if applicable) as well as keep track of inventory better.

Overall, many factors go into picking the correct warming cabinet for your medical facility.  Whether you are small or large it is important to have the right match to serve your customers warming needs.     

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