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How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

Pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan.

Many have prepared for emergencies like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or mass shootings, but a pandemic was not on the list for the near future. Since being prepared is key to any good action plan, a lot of pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan. Nonetheless, they stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with response plans created to anticipate the worst, respond immediately, and adapt to the inevitable changes to come. Circumstances differ from hospital to hospital due to location and outbreak, but food service leaders are working hard to keep providing food to patients and staff. Continue reading How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

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The Celebrity Appeal Behind Food Waste Reduction

Food waste is popular for a variety of reasons. It fights hunger. It's good for the environment. It's appealing to younger consumers. And it's profitable.

But there’s another type of popularity to consider when it comes to food waste reduction, and it involves celebrities and household names.

James Beard is arguably the most recognized name we associate with restaurants. The James Beard Foundation Awards are essentially the “Oscars of Food,” as every year, restaurants, chefs, journalists, writers, TV producers, bartenders, and sommeliers are given our country’s top honors. Now, they’re also educating us on how to make the most of our food.

With the release of Waste Not: How to Get the Most From Your Food, the James Beard Foundation provides some answers from several “scrap-savvy” chefs. Some of their tips?

  • Utilize roots as part of the dish. They can add a beautiful element, and depending on the type of vegetable, add a great bitter element.
  • Roast wilting vegetables like celery and carrots to bring them back to life.
  • Don’t peel vegetables. Instead of shedding the outer layer of a carrot or cucumber, wash it well, and use the brilliant colors. Citrus peels? Send them to the bar for use in cocktails.
  • Purée wilting herbs with olive oil before they turn black. Then freeze them for later use.
  • Freeze berries on a tray rather than together so they don’s stick to one another.
  • Use vegetable scraps, roots, tops, and greens to create vegetable stock.

These are just a few examples contained in James Beard’s book on food waste, but the Beard name isn’t the only one popping up in food waste reduction efforts. All across the country, famous chefs and culinary experts are joining the fray, as we look to reduce the amount of food we waste.

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

A film from the late executive producer Anthony Bourdain, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food. As seen through the eyes of some of the most famous chefs in the world, this documentary shows viewers how to make the most of our foods, transforming what most consider as scraps into incredible dishes.

Celebrity Chefs Across the Pond

In an article in Reuters, Chef Douglas McMaster described working in a previous job as a young cook, watching as hundreds of gem lettuces were thrown away as only the root was served… as a garnish. McMaster was the 2009 BBC Young Chef of the Year and now owns Britain’s first zero-waste restaurant.

“We like to think of zero waste as not having a bin,” McMaster said. “Every natural thing has a purpose, you just got to find out what that purpose is.”

Food Waste Pop-Ups

Chef Dan Barber was featured in the first season of Netflix’s critically-acclaimed series, Chef’s Table. Barber has been called a “philosopher chef,” and owns the prestigious Blue Hill restaurant in Westchester County, New York. He also owned a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Blue Hill, but changed it to a food waste pop-up called WastED, serving dishes from ingredients that would normally be headed for the trash.

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Did Someone Order Delivery? In-Room Service Gains Traction

In-Room Service Gains Traction Amongst Hospitals & Care Facilities Across The Country

The limitations and closures of gathering points in hospitals due to COVID-19 have impacted in-room service. However, special attention to in-room service was gaining traction well before the pandemic began. Doctors have always said food can be more than fuel for your body, and with the right nutrients, it can help in the healing process too. Some hospitals are using that concept, as well as patient experience, to change the stereotypes of hospital food for the better and improve patient satisfaction.  Let’s take a look at three healthcare facilities in particular that have started to take a more hospitality-inspired approach to in-room service.

UCLA HEALTH SYSTEM

Open 6:45 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., UCLA offers a restaurant ordering system where the kitchen cooks meals on-demand with menus updated to physician requested, plant-based meals with protein optional additions. Regularly scheduled tray service is still available to neuropsychiatry patients, which is why UCLA’s kitchen is separated into two sections to cater to both types of services.

Keeping in mind there is a 90-minute window between mealtimes, UCLA staff alternates between making and sending 25 trays to 1 unit in neuropsychiatric care and cooking and delivering room service tickets. This staggered approach has eliminated many challenges associated with offering both services.

Room service at UCLA is promised to arrive within 45 minutes but averages 28 minutes. What’s their secret? Food lifts.

Each floor has a dedicated cart with a timer for seven minutes. The cart is wheeled into the lift,  sent up to its designated floor, and the patient is immediately notified. To ensure quality, the cart enters into a pantry where hot and cold additions are added just before being taken to the patient, and the meal is delivered with food and drinks at the correct temperatures.

JOHNS HOPKINS HEALTH SYSTEM

John Hopkins offers Hotel-style, on-demand room service to their patients. They name this style of service the Johns Hopkins At Your Request program. Doctors realized there was a lot of food waste when they had patients ordering the day before, resulting in many being unavailable to receive their meals.

The John Hopkins At You Request program gives patients the flexibility to order their meals anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and receive it within 60 minutes. To better accommodate nutritional diets prescribed to patients, John Hopkins also provides a nutritional department to help assist in meal decisions. Their diverse menu options are a significant factor in the success of the program.

The freedom to choose between traditional hospital foods like meatloaf and upscale items like salmon makes the patient feel satisfied with their meal experience, even when they don’t order the extravagant items. In fact, the majority stick with the traditional items, while the occasional upscale orders bring comfort to patients and family members who need it.

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

St. Jude’s primary focus is on young patients and their families. Patients aren’t limited to in-hospital care, as many of their outpatients go through treatment at nearby housing sponsored by St. Jude and receive their customized meals there. They use a Combi Oven to deliver quality food within expectations of 30 – 45 minutes. As for their future plans for servie? They’re expected to upgrade their systems to TV-operated ordering services and explore newer cooking technologies. Nonetheless, their specialty is in the services they provide.

Considering the age of their patients, their happiness is a priority. The chef often greets patients with a hug and smile, with meals that are fully specialized to encourage the patient to eat and heal. So much so, that patients have even gone to the kitchen to teach the chefs how to make their food!

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The Impacts of Robotics in Health Care

Healthcare Robotics- Lakeside

In today’s environment, the healthcare industry has leaned heavily on technological advancements, particularly through the use of robotics and artificial intelligence.

Like many other industries, healthcare is impacted by a diverse group of factors. From the rising cost of coverage to meeting the challenges associated with labor shortages in the field, things are constantly changing. In order to deal with the reality of this landscape, the healthcare industry has leaned heavily on the technological advancements of today, particularly through the use of robotics and artificial intelligence.

Twenty-first-century healthcare has improved through these advancements, tapping into the potential of delivering quality care like never before. In a field that is overworked and in many cases understaffed, see how these new technologies are improving hospitals and care facilities all over the world. 

Robots Allow Clinicians More Time With Patients

A common misconception out there is that robotic technology and artificial intelligence will replace the healthcare labor force. This simply is not true. The job of these technologies is to complement clinicians’ skill sets, reduce workload, and free up time for healthcare professionals to carry out tasks and activities that will have a greater impact on patient care. Instead of carrying out administrative or repetitive tasks, clinicians can leave some of those responsibilities to robots, and focus on the aspect of their job that matters most: caring for their patients.

On average, primary care physicians work 11.2 hours per day. Nearly six of those work hours are spent interacting with electronic health data and records. There simply is too much data for one person or even a team of doctors to consume and analyze. With the help of robotic technology, and more specifically, AI systems, machines can scan thousands of records and cases in an instant, picking out correlations and patterns that can help treat patients with stunning accuracy. In a profession where time is of the essence, robots and AI can make amazing contributions with both speed and accuracy, allowing for longer, and more dedicated one-on-one care for doctors to have with their patients.

Covering Common Procedures

In most healthcare facilities, there are standard procedures that must be administered regularly to patients. Drawing blood, checking blood pressure, and administering shots are procedures that should be achieved regularly and with the same attention to detail. For these tasks, robots could prove to be quite an asset.

A recent study published by the journal Technology revealed some pretty remarkable findings. In the study, a robot device was successful at administering blood 87 percent of the time on the 31 participants in the trial. In previous studies, health care professionals recorded only a 73 percent success rate of patients with visible veins, while the robot device was successful 97 percent of the time. Utilizing robotic technology for these practices would guarantee that they were performed properly each time and save precious time for medical staff.

Improved Accuracy

In an industry where accuracy is critical and often the difference in life or death, developing technology that boosts accuracy to the next level is critical. In order to provide accurate diagnosis and treatments for patients, all data collected must be accurate. With robotics, administrative and recurring clinical duties, such as monitoring patient vitals or inputting patient data, will be achieved with remarkable efficiency.

The precision found in these robotics is unmatched by the human hand and potential errors that can happen. Take the Da Vinci surgical robot for instance. This amazing device has completed well over 6 million surgeries worldwide and equips surgeons with the ability to perform minimally invasive surgery with astounding accuracy. In addition, studies have shown that surgeries with this robot have resulted in far fewer complications following operations. With the help of robotics, surgeons will benefit from these devices greatly. By delivering small, precise incisions, robots provide immense value, allowing surgeons to not worry about possible human error such as fatigue or lack of range of motion.

Implementation Across The Entire Healthcare Landscape

Globally, Robot technology in healthcare facilities has ramped up because their benefits are too good to ignore. Not only do they allow for improved patient care, but they also impact cost savings and waste reduction, to name a few perks.

Throughout the United States, Automated Pharmacies that utilize robotic technologies are becoming extremely popular. Robots can update records sent from the hospital, label, package, store and fill prescriptions with ease and undeniable accuracy. Again, this allows pharmacists to free up time to educate themselves on medications and provide valuable insight and consultation for patients.

One of the rising trends in healthcare is telemedicine. With a shortage of health care professionals and the unavailability of specialized care in some remote locations, robotics provide a real solution to this issue. Complete with full audio, video, and camera capabilities, these telerobots provide timely communication, data tracking and enable clinicians the ability to remotely log in and speak with a patient.

Looking Ahead

There’s no denying, robotics and AI technology are rapidly changing the healthcare industry. Because of the many benefits related to cost, accuracy, and accessibility, care facilities are catching on and adopting these remarkable assets into their everyday operation. From surgical assistant robots to machines who carry out non-patient facing tasks like stocking and cleaning, these technologies are improving healthcare by leaps and bounds.

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Your Guide to Mobile Handwashing Stations

importance of hand washing

Handwashing on the go has become pivotal, We've created a guide for the best use cases and set-up for your operations.

We’re living in an era of increased importance when it comes to sanitation. According to the Center for Disease Control, we know the coronavirus and the subsequent COVID-19 disease it causes is spread mainly through people-to-people contact. This means people who are within six feet of one another are at risk of transmitting the virus. Because it’s transferred through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, it’s also critical that we wash our hands. Continue reading Your Guide to Mobile Handwashing Stations

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The Future of Healthcare Foodservice in the COVID Era

Hospital Cafiteria

Hospital and healthcare dining have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

To summarize the situation, the most profitable types of foodservice delivery have been limited, and higher patient censuses cannot make up for the difference.

Let’s take a closer look at the details.

In hospitals and in-patient healthcare facilities, the majority of the foodservice profits are made from staff dining and from visitors. When you factor in more and more staff members working from home and you eliminate the ability for many to visit patients because of the potential risks of the coronavirus, those central profit points are also eliminated.

These are certainly tough statistics, but the reality is healthcare operators are experiencing far less volatility than other types of foodservice operators. According to Datassential, only six percent of healthcare operators are completely closed during the pandemic.

What can we expect in the coming year for healthcare foodservice?

There are several changes that are here and will likely not change in the near future. With a focus on minimal contact, technology will play a key role in not just food ordering and delivery, but also in food production. Robotics will become more popular in a contact-less environment, as will sustainably packing for individually wrapped foods.

Along those same lines, buffets and self-serve options will become all but obsolete as we navigate COVID-19 conditions. As we’ve already seen this year, a complete rethinking of foodservice delivery methods will continue into 2021. With so much uncertainty, it will also be critical for foodservice directors to shore up their supply chains.

Here are some additional points to consider in late 2020 and early 2021 as it pertains to hospital foodservice operations.

HIGHER SPENDING ON DISPOSABLES

Current conditions have caused the cost of disposables to increase to a range of between $4,000 and $12,000 per month depending on the size of the community. This is caused across the entire spectrum of foodservice operation types. In restaurants, as full service dining starts to pick back up in many locations, some are considering a surcharge to cover the costs of disposables.

STAFFING COSTS ON THE RISE

In many cases, healthcare dining often translates to a self-serve environment. Today, operators are considering staffing options to eliminate the self-serve nature of these service types. More staff costs more money, of course. And so does all the time it takes to implement additional precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

THE GAMUT OF CHALLENGES

Foodservice directors in hospitals, in-patient healthcare facilities, and in long-term senior care communities are all facing some of the same challenges – maintaining safe distances in kitchens and dining facilities, increasing staff morale and safety, ensuring food safety along with quality, revenue, and more. The last thing these operations need are issues created by the equipment and supplies used to help solve these very challenges.

WHERE TO START

Interested in how to re-purpose some of your current equipment? Looking for efficient ways to handle meal delivery, sanitation, social distancing, and more? Than check out this inspiration guide for COVID-19 Solutions.

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Soap and Water or Hand Sanitizer? Which creates better Hand Hygiene?

Washing your hands has always been super important in healthcare facilities in order to prevent Hospital Acquired Illnesses (HAIs) or healthcare-associated infections which affect about 1 in every 31 patients. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s even more important for healthcare professionals, and all of us to practice good hand hygiene.

What is good hand hygiene?

Having good hand hygiene means keeping your hands clean as much as possible. The best way to practice proper hand hygiene is to wash your hands with soap and water, or to use hand sanitizer whenever your hands may have come into contact with a dirty surface. Dirty surface doesn’t just mean visibly dirty, as many surfaces that appear to be clean could actually be covered in germs and bacteria. If you’re not sure whether you need to clean your hands, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and wash up!

Soap and water or hand sanitizer?

The best ways to clean your hands is by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer removes most germs, it does not remove all germs from your hands, and studies show that soap and water are more effective at removing certain types of germs. This is why the CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water whenever possible, and using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

When to Wash your Hands

Here are some of the times when the CDC recommends that you wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Before, after, or during any food preparation
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the bathroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up for a child who has used the bathroom
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After handling pet treats or food
  • After touching a garbage
  • Anytime that your hands are visibly dirty or greasy

When to Use Hand Sanitizer

Here are a couple of instances in which the CDC believes hand sanitizer will work to remove germs and bacteria.

  • Before and after visiting someone who is in a hospital or healthcare facility
  • If soap and water are not readily available

Proper Hand Washing

We’ve all been taught the importance of regular hand washing from a young age, but do you know how to correctly wash your hands? According to the CDC, there are a few steps for the proper hand washing technique.

  1. Wet your hands with warm water
  2. Apply the amount of soap that the manufacturer recommends
  3. Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 15 seconds, making sure cover all parts of your hands with soap
  4. Rinse your hands with more water
  5. Lastly, dry your hands with a paper towel or air dryer, and turn off the faucet with the towel to avoid any lingering germs.

Proper Hand Sanitizing

It seems like it’s obvious how to use hand sanitizer, but not everyone sanitizes their hands correctly.  Here are the steps for correctly sanitizing your hands.

  1. First, you should make sure that you are using a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol in order for it to be effective
  2. Put the amount of product that the manufacturer recommends on your hands and start to rub them together
  3. Continue rubbing your hands together for about 20 seconds until your hands are completely covered and dry
  4. Once your hands are dry, they will be sterile and you should be ready to move on to your next task

 

Hand Hygiene in Hospitals

Even among healthcare professionals, there is a need for better and more thorough hand hygiene training. In fact, a study was done which showed that even before COVID-19 took the world by storm, 40% of healthcare professionals wanted better hand hygiene training. According to the CDC, on average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times that they should which contributes to 1 of every 31 hospital patients contracting a HAI. So even though it may seem obvious that clean hands are super important for healthcare professionals, there is a need for more training and knowledge when it comes to hand hygiene.

When to Wash your Hands in the Hospital

Soap and water are very effective at cleaning your hands and removing pesky germs and bacteria that hand sanitizer will not. Here are a few circumstances when you should make sure to wash your hands when in a healthcare facility.

  • Anytime hands are visibly soiled.
    • Hand Sanitizer is not very effective at removing dirt and other germ-filled substances that may build up on your hands. Whenever you can physically see anything on your hands, wash them!
  • After caring for a person who may have infectious diarrhea
    • Diarrhea is caused by difficile, a common HAI that hand sanitizers are not able to get rid of.
  • After a potential exposure to spores
    • Spores are infections caused by bacteria that is resistant to hand sanitizers and require a thorough washing with soap and water to kill the bacteria.

When to use Hand Sanitizer in the Hospital

Although it is always best to wash your hands when possible, here are some instances in which hand sanitizer will do the trick.

  • Immediately before touching a patient
    • Using hand sanitizer before any contact with a patient is always the smart thing to do, even if you have recently washed!
  • Before performing any aseptic tasks
    • Hand hygiene is super important when it comes to any invasive medical devices, and you should make sure that everything, including yourself, is clean and sterile
  • Before moving to work on a clean part of a patient’s body from a soiled point of their body
    • You should frequently be sanitizing when working directly with patients, even if they are the only thing you’ve had contact with!
  • After touching a patient or their immediate environment
    • Always sanitize your hands when you’re done working with a patient, and before you move on to your next tasks
  • After contact with bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces
    • Sanitize after any contact with an un-sterile surface or object, and wash your hands if there is any remnants!
  • Immediately after glove removal
    • You may think that the inside of your gloves are sterile and clean, but sweat can build up inside and cause germs and bacteria to cover your hands.

 

Myths about Hand Hygiene

Myth 1: Frequent Hand Washing dries out your skin

While washing your hands too much can cause the skin on your hands to dry out, it is likely that the reason for this is the water you are using is too hot. Using warm water drastically effects the amount of dryness that can come from hand washing, and will ensure that you are able to keep your hands clean whenever they need to be.

Myth 2: Hand Sanitizer causes antibiotic resistance

Some people claim that hand sanitizers can lead to antibiotic resistance, but this simply isn’t the case. The main cause of antibiotic resistance is repeated improper use of antibiotics according to the CDC.

Myth 3: All germs are the same

This is not accurate, as there are many different types of germs and bacteria that can build on your hands, some of which require soap and water rather than hand sanitizer to be taken care of.

Myth 4: Antibacterial soap reduces the amount of times you need to wash

Antibacterial soap is great for cleaning your hands, but studies show that it isn’t significantly better than normal hand soap. It also does not mean that you have to wash your hands less than you would with normal soap.

Is Hand Sanitizer really more convenient in Hospitals?

The main reason why healthcare facilities use hand sanitizer much more than soap and water is simply because it is much easier to quickly sanitize your hands with a busy schedule, something most healthcare professionals have every day. Sanitizer is easy to carry around with you or to put out for people to use on something like Lakeside’s high-traffic sanitizer dispenser, but that doesn’t mean that washing with soap and water is difficult!

To effectively wash your hands with soap and water, all you need is 30 seconds and a sink. Lakeside has helped to create a solution to one of those parts with the portable handwashing station, which allows you to put a sink with soap and water anywhere in your facility. This product also gives you the ability to move it around to areas that require more intense hand hygiene, and makes it easy to wash your hands with soap and water without a trip to the bathroom.

If time is a big concern in your healthcare facility, make sure to check out Lakeside’s product solutions designed to ensure efficient and proper hand hygiene for all healthcare professionals!