Posts Tagged ‘dosing at OTP’

The Car Dosing Cart

Nurse Sylvia behind the Car Dose Cart















At our opioid treatment program, we’ve been dosing some patients in their cars, either because the patients have fragile health and we’re trying to keep them away from crowds, or because they have COVID infections, possible COVID infections, or have been exposed to someone with COVID infection.

In order to give more protection to our nurses while they deliver a dose to a patient in a car, one of our excellent employees, Jerry, created the Car Dosing Cart (Patent is pending.) as pictured above

As you can see, it’s made from a wheeled cart. Plexiglass sheets were attached to the front and sides of the cart, with a cut-out for a window just large enough to push a dose of methadone or buprenorphine toward the patient seated in the car. Just below the top level, there’s a second shelf where the patient can push their lock box onto the cart so that it can be filled with take home doses. The rest of the car is enclosed in plastic which is taped on three sides to the cart.

It’s genius.

The nurses feel protected while using it, and there’s enough surface area for everything they need. It’s wheeled, so it can be pushed easily out of the pharmacy, out our front door and to the curb outside. It’s the next best thing to a take-out window.

Per protocol, nurses never go by themselves to the parking lot to administer a dose. For security, another staff member accompanies him or her, both to discourage theft, and to provide a second set of eyes to vouch that the dose was given to the patient for whom it was intended. All of this is documented in the patient’s chart.

The idea for the Car Dosing Cart was born after a case staffing, when the staff asked me to allow car dosing for all our patients who work at a local poultry plant, after they had a large outbreak of COVID 19 infections.

I balked at this idea, feeling there were too many patients involved. I also worried the nurses would be more exposed to patients when dosing them in their cars. But as the number of cases at the poultry plant soared, I had second thoughts. I asked other doctors working at opioid treatment programs for advice. They recommended car dosing all poultry plant employees, who could unintentionally spread COVID infection. I backtracked my initial decision and we started to car dose many more patients.

That’s when Jerry invented the Car Dosing Cart.

Thus far, the cart is working very well. It’s stocked with everything the nurses might need, like cups, tissues, gloves, etc.

We will car dose patients for as long as the state allows, for as long as we have consistently elevated number of new cases of COVID 19 in our county and state.

I’m so grateful for the courage, compassion, and creativity of all our staff at our opioid treatment program.