For more than a year, healthcare food service programs have grappled with how best to serve the needs of patients and staff amid the more-than-challenging circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, the answer has been to use a mix of strategies and demonstrate a willingness to evolve.
Early in the pandemic, it became clear to Neal Lavender, executive director of food and nutrition at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas, that his team would need to concentrate on two things in order to mitigate disruption in food service: tight systems and steady communication, according to Food Management.
The public and community hospital’s 105 foodservice workers create and serve more than 19,000 meals on average across the four-acre campus every week. They plan, prepare and serve all food options for their retail cafeteria and coffee kiosk and provide all meals for patients in the 587-bed facility.
When they noticed that supply chains were being interrupted across the country, the management team decided to create secondary menus to ensure they had backup plans; they knew certain ingredients, or maybe even whole orders, might not arrive on time. They also focused on boosting their inventory.