We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Types of Medication Cart?

By A.M. Boyle
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Medication carts are similar in design in that they are typically square or rectangular units with swivel caster wheels and compartments to house medication. Variations can be found in overall size, weight, and color of the units. The number and type of drawers and compartments a medication cart contains can also be different, depending upon the particular model. The units are generally constructed of steel, wood, polymer, or a combination of all three materials. A range of side accessories that attach to the cart are also available to suit any specific needs.

The purpose of a medication cart is to make it easier for nurses and other heath care professionals to dispense an assortment of medication to bedridden patients. The specific needs of different hospitals and other institutions inevitably vary, and consequently, medication carts come in different sizes with diverse features to suit those requirements. The type of drawer space differentiates certain styles of medication carts as either bin carts, box carts, or punch-card carts.

Most medication carts can be anywhere from 27 to 48 inches (approximately 69 to 122 cm) long and 40 to 45 inches (about 102 to 114 cm) tall. Generally, the units are about 20 to 25 inches (approximately 51 to 63 cm) wide. The size differences among the carts allow for different styles and types of drawers. One type of medication cart, called a box cart has a series of long, narrow drawers divided inside into various sections, or boxes, that hold medication. Another type of medication cart, termed a bin cart, has rows of smaller, checkerboard-type compartments rather than drawers.

Certain types of carts called punch-card carts have a series of large, wide drawers in addition to medication bins. These larger drawers are designed to hold paperwork and patient files to make it easier for health care providers to keep track of the patients’ medications. Many medication carts have a combination of box, bin, and punch-card features. Regardless of the particular style, most carts contain compartments that lock, either by key or electronically, in which narcotic medications are kept in order to reduce the incidence of theft.

Typically, the frame of a medication cart is constructed of steel or a steel alloy. To keep the cart from being too heavy, the drawers and compartments are usually made of aluminum, although some units do use a hard polymer. Some institutions desire medication carts that are more decorative in nature, and therefore, units with eye-appealing wood finishes are available. These particular carts can either be made entirely of wood or will have steel frames finished with wood laminate.

Specific accessories are available for medication carts that will affect their functionality. For instance, side accessories can be added to provide pull-out writing surfaces, areas to keep clipboards, or poles to hang intravenous fluids. Companies that make and sell medication carts often offer purchasers the option to customize the carts to suit their specific needs.

Technologically advanced medication carts are also available. This cart, sometimes called a smart cart, comes fully equipped with a wireless computer, monitor, keyboard, and scanning device. The onboard computer allows caregivers to keep track of their patients and the medications administered electronically, eliminating the need to carry bulky files or charts while reducing the possibility of paperwork error.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.