Food Programs Adapt to COVID-19 Era

Instead of delivering meals to COVID-19 patients themselves, kitchen coordinates with nursing staff

By By Dan Hounsell
April 8, 2021

Like every other department in healthcare facilities, food service programs have had to rethink nearly every aspect of their activities in the last year. Plans and programs that were years in the making were quickly scrapped as managers and staff adapted on the fly to the COVID-19 era.

Before COVID-19 swept through Derby, Kansas, Rock Regional Hospital was a new facility, serving only a handful of patients each day, according to Food Management. Once the virus hit, they experienced a spike in patients. Richard Ensley, who has been at the helm of Rock Regional’s dining program since January 2020, says the kitchen had to quickly shift its approach.

For example, they had to adjust their food delivery system. Instead of delivering meals to COVID-19 patients themselves, the kitchen coordinates with the nursing staff. To get the timing right, the kitchen is in frequent communication with nurses.

Patients order meals no later than 90 minutes prior to meal delivery. Then the foodservice staff drops all meals in “contact precaution rooms,” where nurses pick them up and deliver them to patients.




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