How Automated Dispensing Cabinets Keep the Pressure Off of Nurses

Everyone loves a good mystery until it becomes a matter of life or death. Nurses working in long-term care, hospice, or other alternate care setting don’t want any surprises when it comes to patient medications. They need to know what a night box or emergency medication box contains to know what medicine to give each patient and when.


What’s In the Box?

Imagine visiting the box only to find the security seal has gone missing. Nobody wants to admit they were the ones who removed this seal, as they know they will face disciplinary action for doing so. As a result, the nurse must learn the answers to several questions before proceeding with medication administration.

They need to know if someone used medication. If a medication was administered, the nurse must determine whether the person giving the medications completed the appropriate paperwork. Next, they need to see if anything else is missing or if any medication is outdated and needs to be replaced. At times, the entire box goes missing and the mystery deepens. How can those issues be avoided?

Automated Dispensing Cabinets

Many alternate care facilities today choose to make use of Automated Dispensing Cabinets to avoid problems such as those mentioned above. They find adopting new technology benefits them much as these cabinets assist hospital workers. Hospitals have used cabinets of these types for decades with outstanding success. How can the cabinets benefit alternate care providers?

Medication Management Regulations

Each state determines its requirements and regulations regarding the boxes. They dictate what the box can contain, the number of controlled substances held in the cabinet, and the number of doses. The industry has allowed this for many years, and many facilities have benefited from purchasing the cabinets.


The main reason hospitals and alternate care facilities prefer automated dispensing cabinets involves security. The boxes offer an extremely high level of security, and they save nurses countless hours. Every nurse and member of the pharmacy staff remain informed as to what is present in the box, what others have removed, the quantities, and the doses.

The box retains information on who removed the medication, which dose they removed, who received the drug, and when this occurred. Tracking inventory levels becomes easier, and the facility knows who to bill for the medications. Today, alternative care facilities are learning how they can benefit from the use of a long-term automated dispensing cabinet.


An automated dispensing cabinet improves workflow in an alternative care facility. It addresses the dispensing and dosing, including first and stat doses for medications that aren’t patient-specific. The nurse retrieves a dose when necessary and does so in a controlled environment.

The nurse must sign into the box to get the medication and sign out once they have retrieved it. This allows the pharmacy to see what was used and who used it. They know which patient received the medication and when they need to restock. This ensures the facility has medications when they are needed and feels confident the medications aren’t outdated.

What to Look for When Purchasing an ADC

When purchasing an automated dispensing cabinet, alternate care facilities need to look for devices created for the type of care provided. Consider a cabinet that includes cloud-based computing to allow everyone to see what is being done with the box at any time. The cabinet should make different configurations possible based on the patients being served and the formulary. Purchasers find they can choose the size, configuration, and features that best meet their needs.

Consider adding an automated dispensing cabinet to your alternate care facility. Doing so eliminates concerns related to medication management and reduces the risk of fraud or theft. Learn more today to see if this type of cabinet will move your facility forward.


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