75% of med/surg supplies simply do not store well on a standard wire shelf.
While they have their place, plastic shelf bins aren’t without their shortcomings. Bins needs to be sized properly to the shelving. Otherwise you can create all sorts of storage inefficiencies. They also need to be cleaned regularly, especially around critical care areas. This can come with a considerable labour cost that is often overlooked.
Fine mesh basket shelves prevent the build up of dust and dirt seen with plastic bins. This type of shelving has been around for a while but there has been some notable evolution in their design in recent years.
This type of shelf uses a 1/2 inch square mesh to prevent smaller items from falling through the spaces. These types of shelves can be hung on a louvered panel mounted on a wall, on a free-standing frame or even on a standard round-post style of wire cart.
Nothing tops basket shelving when it comes to combining capacity & access.
High-density solutions typically create their capacity at the expense of product access. Shelf units on track systems need to be moved to gain access. Other high density systems use tightly spaced wire baskets which need to be manipulated in order to gain access to their contents. Good labelling is key for these types of system.
Basket shelving, on the other hand, can easily create an increase of 40% in capacity compared to a standard wire shelf and plastic bin setup while giving you 100% visibility and access to the product. No need to move carts on a track or open & close drawers to find what you’re looking for.
Design elements to look for (and one to avoid)
Starting with the mesh grid itself, some brands have this grid welded to the inside of the basket frame. This can increase the chance of tearing product (or skin!) when product is placed or taken off the shelf.
Brands like Wanzl’s SMARTCELL and Quick Wall from InnerSpace have the wire mesh welded to the outside of the basket frame. This immediately decreases the risk of tearing packaging because the wire ends are on the outside.
Metro’s qwikSIGHT system takes things one step further. Not only does it have the wire mesh on the outside of the frame it an adds a thick epoxy coating to help soften wire ends even further. qwikSIGHT free standing units integrate the bottom dust cover into the frame itself, increasing flexibility of where you can position the shelves.
Basket shelving is also extremely adaptable
- You can mount basket shelving in some brands of cabinets. This is ideal for closed storage options inside an OR or ER trauma room.
- You can reclaim valuable corner space. SMARTCELL is the only brand that has a proprietary corner basket for wall-mount applications.
- You an even integrate basket shelves on to standard wire carts. Hybrid solutions like this are a great idea when you might need only a shelf or two worth of capacity.
Basket shelving provides cleaner containment of supplies & unbeatable accessibility to products. The benefits of keeping supplies highly visible and organized include allowing staff to stay efficient & on task, improving inventory management, increasing infection control and reducing costs. Ultimately, and most importantly, these combine to improve patient care.