Omnicell: Why Safe & Timely Drug Dispensing Matters in the Emergency Psychiatric Unit
The Jack & Pat Kay Emergency Psychiatric Unit (EPU) in Humber’s Apotex Emergency Department cares for those experiencing urgent mental health or addiction issues. When every minute counts, quick access to fast-acting medication can go a long way to comfort and stabilize patients who are in crisis. Staff in the EPU now have an Omnicell Automated Drug Dispensing Unit at their fingertips – literally!
Only they can use their fingerprint to sign into the Omnicell, where they select the patient they are caring for and the drug they want to dispense. The system lights up the appropriate tray and prints any required labels. The EPU Omnicell ensures mental health patients safely receive the right care, right away.
“Having our own Omnicell increases the safety factor in our unit,” explains Bev, a Registered Nurse in the EPU. “The medication is safely contained and we can access it quickly.”
Managing medications is a critical part of patient care. The Omnicell, which was purchased thanks to donor support, keeps medications secure through metal locking lid drawers, reduces medication errors, increases staff efficiency, and improves inventory tracking.
“Having a dedicated EPU Omnicell is also safer for the nurses,” says Richa, the Clinical Practice Leader for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program and the EPU. “Before it arrived, a nurse would sometimes need to go to the ER to stock the cart or to get medications not available in our cart, leaving fewer nurses in the EPU. It’s much rarer now that we would need to do that.”
When a medication is running low, the Omnicell automatically alerts the pharmacy to refill it. This means that critical medications are more likely to be in the right place when we need them.
“I’ve been nursing for a long time and I love looking after our mental health patients,” says Bev. “They need advocates and I’m in the position where I can advocate for them. The EPU has an excellent team and we feel safe. The Omnicell is helping us care for our patients even better.”