Furniture-style medication carts hit the sweet spot in newer LTC facilities

A few years ago, it was a trend. Now, it is a tidal wave. Senior living spaces are being updated, refurbed, or bulldozed at amazing speeds. Stuffy institutional settings are re-imagined as architects and interior designers take a holistic look. Privacy and dignity, a homelike setting, and hospitality are as important as square foot calculation, says the journal Building Design + Construction.

Capsa is in-step with the trend. Two classic product lines – the Avalo and Vintage Mobile medication carts – recently underwent their own extensive renovation; facility residents, nurses, and LTC pharmacies alike are taking notice. In 2019, Vintage Encore and Avalo Woodblend are changing minds about what a furniture-feel medication cart should be.

Take Anya Priddee, Guardian Pharmacy Services manager in Tampa, FL. She has worked with all models of Capsa carts for nine years. “I saw photos of the new Vintage Encore, and they were nice. But when they got installed, I just loved, loved, loved it,” Priddee says. “The way Capsa blended everything is great. Instead of just feeling like a med cart, it feels like a modern piece of furniture. I’m telling you, when my nurse saw it she jumped up and down.”

Priddee describes the new LTC facilities in Florida as resort-like, yet nurses still have to work efficiently. So their workhorse carts have to strike a balance between stylish and functional. “This cleaner, sleeker look isn’t too modern or sterile like some new furniture design. It’s like a breath of fresh air.”

Jason Sutton, GM at Infinity Pharmacy Solutions, says almost all Texas facilities he sees have gone ritzy. “We are now using the Vintage Encore carts as a marketing lever,” Sutton says. “When we go into these fantastic facilities, we are able to get a competitive edge.”

From Houston to San Antonio to Dallas, Sutton sees the décor migrating to gentle, lighter tones – plenty of light grays, off-whites, and natural light. “Our newest install at Belmont Turtle Creek in Dallas has gone this direction. So when we put in Vintage Encore carts, they fit in perfectly.” Stylish med cart design is becoming more noticeable as many remodeled facilities don’t have traditional med rooms; stations on each floor put the medication carts out in the open for all to see. “They use the carts like furniture, so they now have to look good,” Sutton says.

Capsa’s redesign process wasn’t just looking at a few color chips and picking what was the prettiest for wood-paneled medication carts. The company wanted to rejuvenate its Vintage Mobile line of non-institutional medication carts, so it turned to Portland, OR’s James Owen Design to thoroughly study industry trends. The process went something like this: 10 different facilities were studied; 7 color palettes were seriously considered; Almost 100 pharmacy and LTC administrators were questioned, and

1 design won out in the end: Vintage Encore’s White Ash. In fact, the learnings from the Vintage Encore project inspired the redesign of Avalo Woodblend later in 2018. Avalo Woodblend infuses two new wood-grain exteriors into the venerable brand’s cart lineup, Mountain Ash and Northern Cherry.

The toughest part of a redesign project is trusting data instead of personal biases and old company habits, says James Owen. “Color conversations are fraught with personal feelings. Everyone thinks they know what’s best, what they would like in their own home. Our firm comes in and can be objective and translate trends in the marketplace,” says Owen. And since any design trend has a shelf life, he feels good about the long-range planning the Capsa team is taking. Today, Vintage Encore and Avalo Woodblend meet the industry’s preferences. In 5-7 years, Capsa will be ready with a new approach to match new human factors, technologies, and preferences. “New design helps you maintain market share, and outpace your competitors.”

That applies to both Capsa, whose new carts are installing at a record rate; and LTC pharmacies that say Capsa’s new furniture style med carts give them an edge over other pharmacies in their region.