One of the jobs of the Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JHACO) is to audit hospitals throughout the United States to ensure they are in compliance. One of their concerns is how narcotics, pharmaceuticals, "sharps" (needles/scalpels), etc., are secured in rooms, refrigerators, carts or cabinets. However, JHACO does not specify how to secure the containers of these compounds.
For example, under Security of Medication, effective August 3, 2005, under the Frequently Asked Questions web page of the JHACO web site, the following two questions are answered and I quote:
"Q: How does Joint Commission define "secure" in relation to medication stored in the pharmacy, patient units, operating rooms, and crash carts? A: Stock medications stored in the Pharmacy and in patient care areas must be either locked or under constant surveillance. The same holds true for the operating room including anesthesia carts - when an anesthesia cart is unattended and not under constant surveillance, it must be locked or stored in a locked room. The same requirement applies to floor medication carts and crash carts and any prepackaged surgical or treatment packs that may contain medication."
Under Bedside Medications, also effective August 3, 2005, "Q: Can medications for patient self-administration be stored at the patient's bedside? A: Yes, but only if the medication is stored under lock and key or secured in a way to assure that the patient and authorized staff can access the medication but others cannot."
JHACO may not specify how to secure; however, the group has teeth. A hospital can be cited for not locking up or for not having access control. No one other than an authorized individual should have access to a narcotics cabinet. If the facility does not resolve a situation in a timely fashion, it could lose accreditation or even federal funding.
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The CompX eLock Refrigerator Kit is designed to secure refrigerators and freezers in order to keep medications, chemicals and dangerous substances out of the hands of the unauthorized. The eLock Refrigerator Kit has a battery-operated electromechanical lock with a motor-driven spring bolt latch. Five lock models are available.
The Refrigerator Kit eLock has non-volatile memory with the capability of up to 250 Supervisor/User Codes. The eLock Refrigerator Kit provides a method for controlling access and with the available option of audit trail to provide some accountability as the downloaded information can identify a user or specific day/time, if an infraction has occurred.
The eLock Refrigerator Kit is mounted onto the door and the strike is mounted onto the top of the refrigerator body. As the door is closed and the strike enters the slot leading to the eLock latch, the latch retracts to accommodate the strike and extends into the opening in the strike. The door is locked, and only a properly programmed P.I.N., magstripe card, or proximity ID can gain access. When a properly programmed P.I.N., card, or ID has been entered, the electric motor retracts the latch and the door can be opened.
Note: Do not pull on the door until the sound of the motor stops.
The eLock Refrigerator Kit slam latch is designed to lock the refrigerator simply by closing the door. The eLock Refrigerator Kit is designed for interior applications and is not weather resistant.
The sample Refrigerator Kit is equipped with the proximity/keypad eLock. For this eLock and the two other models equipped with a keypad, eLocks can be programmed by either adding codes using the keypad or using the optional LockView™ software. The keypad of the sample Refrigerator Kit eLock has a green LED and red LED, an asterisk "*" key, and pound "#" key. In addition, there are two rows of five buttons, numbering 1 through 0. When a valid code is entered, the green LED illuminates, the latch retracts, and there is a positive confirmation beep. If an invalid code is entered, the red LED illuminates, and there is a negative beep.
We installed a proximity reader/keypad eLock with battery pack into a metal gun cabinet equipped with two recessed tubular locks. While the eLock is designed for cabinet drawers and doors, it can be...
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