Trying to reduce supply waste


I work in a high acuity ICU. Recently, while cleaning patient rooms, our housekeepers collected all unused supplies for a one week period. This was done hospital wide and found that we had a projected over $30,000 a year in wasted supplies. We are now brainstorming on ways to lessen that number. Our first meeting, we came up with having a smaller supply pyxis closer to patient rooms so nurses wouldn't have to load up on so many items in case they forgot something bc it wouldn't be as time consuming walking back and forth to get items. This would be more beneficial for floor nurses. The ICU thought of making admission packs which would have standard items we need when admitting a patient to try to help nurses not grab so many items that they don't need. I think some nurses over prepare when getting an admission and grab lots of supplies then end up not needing them. I'm trying to find any other ideas that are used to help lessen supply waste. Any ideas?


642 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/ICU/Stepdown. Has 3 years experience.

I find one of the biggest supply wasters are improperly labeled equipment; graduates, bed pans, tube feeding supplies, syringes, IV tubing, IV fluids, etc. When these things are not properly labeled, they need to be thrown out as soon as the RN realizes the supplies may be out of date, and this leads to excess use of said supplies. It may be a menial cost, but over time, it definitely adds up.

Do you have a materials coordinator? Someone that can help audit the most commonly used items in excess? That might be the first place to start.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Kudos to OP's employer for utilizing staff with the highest level of expertise - STAFF NURSES - to solve this problem instead of bringing in expensive black belt six sigma lean consultants who wouldn't know a rectal thermometer if it was substituted for a gob stopper. I don't have any brilliant ideas, but just wanted to give a shout-out to an organization that is on the right track.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

I too work in a high level ICU. We have admission packs that contain the basics. I've also made it a habit to inventory my carts before getting more supplies. Sometimes there are handfuls of lab tubes in the top drawer. I use what is already in there, because once the pt is transferred it's trash.

Our MDs also write orders for 10 ml NS flushes prn -- that way we can scan and charge for them. Those prefilled syringes are $4 each, I'm told.

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

if this is 30000$ over the whole hospital, is it even worth the effort?


2 Posts

What kind of carts do you use? What all supplies do you keep stocked in them?


389 Posts

Specializes in ICU, trauma.

I work in an ICU as well and we actually have supply closets in each patient room stocked with it tubing, caps, lines and IVs ect. We keep these supplies even after the patient has left because we don't consider this "part of the patient room" and only throw them out in cases of cdiff. They are easy to access without constantly having to run for supplies and also cost effective