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The Importance of Stainless Steel

Amidst the global spread of COVID-19, sanitization is more important than ever, especially for healthcare facilities, who are on the front lines of the battle against this pandemic. Sanitary equipment is imperative to slowing the spread of COVID-19, and our healthcare facilities need access to increased amounts of supplies such as masks, ventilators, hospital beds, emergency carts, and other ancillary equipment. While hospitals are investing in additional supplies, we must consider what materials are best suited to combat this situation. Medical equipment is manufactured with various types of metals, plastics, and more. But which is the best for safety and sanitization? The consensus of the medical community is widely agreed upon: stainless steel.

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steels are iron-based alloys that contain at least 10.5% chromium and 1.2% or less carbon. There are many different types or grades of stainless steel which are created by altering the percentages of its contents, and adding in different metals and elements such as:

• Nickel
• Molybdenum
• Titanium
• Copper
• Carbon
• Nitrogen

In fact, there are over 50 different grades of stainless steel. Grades such as 200 and 400 series are widely used but they all share properties that cause this metal to have its unique sterilization capabilities. Stainless Steel gets its “claim to fame” due to its ability to resist rust and corrosion. This property is due to the addition of chromium which creates a chromium-oxide film on the surface when exposed to oxygen. This film acts as a barrier between the steel and the environment. If the film is broken, it has the ability to self-heal, as long as oxygen is present. With this ability, stainless steel makes an excellent choice for medical equipment that is constantly wiped down, washed and cleaned. All this cleaning would likely damage other materials but this where stainless really shines! It’s chromium-oxide film allows it to heal itself after getting beat up by the variety of cleaning methods necessary in a healthcare environment.

Why is stainless steel the hygienic standard in healthcare facilities?

The unique capability to self-heal helps create a surface that is very easy to sanitize in comparison to other materials used widely in medical equipment. Other materials such as ceramics, plastics and polymers are susceptible to micro cracks, dents, and scratches which harbor bacteria and other germs. Oftentimes these micro cracks are invisible to the naked eye, making these materials especially challenging to thoroughly clean. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is highly durable and resistant to cracks, dents and scratches. Its natural film protects the metal and reduces the amount of maintenance necessary. With all this in mind, it becomes clear why other materials cannot steel the crown from stainless steel as the king of durability and cleanability.

We can also see why stainless steel is widely used in medical applications. Not only is it extremely durable, but it is also an easy material to work with as it can be cut, welded, and shaped very easily, while providing extra strength. Stainless steel also lasts much longer than other materials and won’t scratch and dent over time. This makes stainless steel an excellent investment that ensures easy cleaning and low maintenance for years to come. Stainless steel also has high temperature resistance, meaning that even in high temperature environments it won’t deform or break under mechanical stress unlike many other materials.

Common Medical Applications of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is used for a variety of different medical applications including:

  • Surgical Instruments
  • Cabinets
  • Sinks
  • Tables
  • Stands
  • Case Carts
  • Utility Carts

Stainless steel is specifically useful for utility carts as they must be able to carry heavy loads, while not being too heavy by themselves. Additionally, the sanitary element is very important for utility carts in healthcare facilities, and stainless steel provides the best surface to ensure safe and sanitary equipment. A great example of the strength of stainless steel comes from the Lakeside 444 Utility Cart which has a capacity of 500 lbs. while only weighing 68 lbs. itself. Utility carts like this have the best durability and value, because they will last much longer than a similar cart made from aluminum or a different alloy.

Importance of Stainless Steel During COVID-19

The ongoing pandemic is pushing the healthcare industry to the limit, and the need for safe and sanitary equipment is at an all-time high. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, it spreads very easily, and healthcare facilities and equipment must be sanitized effectively. It is recommended that healthcare facilities assign the daily cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces to the nurses and personnel who will already be in close contact with the patient. The use of stainless steel instead of plastic or aluminum equipment makes the sterilization process simpler and takes a load off the healthcare professionals who are tasked with the job of cleaning these hazardous surfaces.

Lakeside Manufacturing is committed to supporting medical facilities with rapid manufacturing and shipping times. Our facility remains open and operational under the essential business provisions granted by local and federal guidelines. Please reach out if your facility is in need of case carts or utility carts during this challenging time. Lakeside is prepared to support increased demand of stainless steel products and remains dedicated to providing quality healthcare solutions.

Lakeside Has You Covered

 

Check out our COVID-19 resources page and product solutions pages for helpful, informative, and up to date information relevant to the pandemic in real time.

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A Guide to Disinfecting Stainless Steel

Medical communities around the globe are more preoccupied than ever with disinfecting equipment.  COVID-19 is changing the conversation about how we clean, not only in medical facilities but also at home and throughout our communities.  With stainless steel being the preferred material by the medical community, it is imperative that we understand how to properly sanitize stainless steel equipment.  Lakeside manufactures a wide variety of stainless steel medical carts, shelves and accessories and we’ve put together a guide on how to accomplish this.

Selecting a Disinfectant

According to a study from the National Institute of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 was detectable on up to three days on stainless steel products. Therefore, verifying that the correct product is being used to disinfect surfaces is paramount.  The Environment Protection Agency created a list of disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19.

While bleach should generally be avoided for cleaning stainless steel products, common products such as Lysol Spray or Lysol Wipes can be used on stainless steel.  If you decide to use a product of this type, it is extremely important that you rinse the surface thoroughly with fresh water.  Lysol and similar products can be abrasive to stainless steel if the substance is on the surface of the stainless steel for an extended period.

Using the Right Tools

Prior to cleaning and disinfecting any surface, it is imperative to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  There are four major types of PPE including face shields, gloves, goggles, and gowns. At minimum gloves and eye protection should be used before cleaning any potentially contaminated surface.

Certain cleaning utensils like steel wool or other steel brushes are too abrasive for stainless steel.  These types of tools can contain iron particles.  When used to clean stainless steel, they can leave metal particles on the surface and lead to rust formation.  A soft cloth, gentle brushes, or sponges are much better alternatives.

The Cleaning Process

To effectively sanitize a stainless steel surface, it is recommended to begin by using hot soap and water. Using your towel, you can then begin to use any additional cleaning solutions.  Always rub in the direction of the steel grain for maximum effectiveness and to avoid scratching the surface.

After all disinfectants are applied, rinse the surface thoroughly with fresh, warm water.  Always remember to completely wipe the surface dry. This process should be repeated after every disinfecting operation.  As always – and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – frequent cleaning is strongly recommended.

Lakeside Manufacturing is committed to supporting medical facilities with rapid manufacturing and lead times.  Our facility remains open and operational under the essential business provisions granted by local and federal guidelines. Lakeside is prepared to support increased demand of stainless steel products and remains dedicated to providing quality healthcare solutions.  For more information about the stainless steel carts we have available, please review our Healthcare Catalog.

Lakeside Has You Covered

 

Check out our COVID-19 resources page and product solutions pages for helpful, informative, and up to date information relevant to the pandemic in real time.

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Patients Eat With Their Eyes First

How a food looks tell the patient a lot about the food and the foodservice team accountability and experience. People use the way a food looks to judge the food for freshness and quality. When the food is visually appealing to a patient, you accomplish your mission of providing nourishment for the recovery and healing of your patients.

COLOR, SHAPE, SIZE AND POSITION OF FOOD MATTERS IN VISUAL APPEAL

COLOR: The most impactful eye appeal

  • Break up the colors
  • Enhance the colors
  • Make it “glisten”
  • Keep the colors natural

SHAPE: Ingredients

  • Vary the cuts of ingredients
  • Add textures to the dish

STYLE: Arranging ingredients, plating

  • Traditional – The Y style of plating
  • Modern plating
  • Simplicity

Aroma Strategies:

  • Include variety
  • Add flavor to comfort food
  • Herbs add color, taste and smell
  • Cooking techniques can enhance aroma and experience
  • Be aware of visual placement on the tray, temperature awareness, less is more, easy to handle and maneuver on tray space

For more on this topic, click here to watch Alluserv's last webinar!

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Parsley, Carrot Curls, Radish Flowers, Oh My!

A garnish is an item or substance used as a decoration or embellishment accompanying a prepared food dish or drink. In many cases, it may give added or contrasting flavor or texture. Some garnishes are selected mainly to augment the visual impact of the plate, while others are selected specifically for the flavor they may impart This is in contrast to a condiment, a prepared sauce added to another food item primarily for its flavor. A food item which is served with garnish may be described as being Garni, the French term for 'garnished.' Many garnishes in the past were not intended to be eaten but today is a different culinary playground.


I went to some of the foodservice culinarian leaders and asked them these questions:

  1. Can the food be the garnish?
  2. Or are traditional garnishes still mode of operation?
  3. What does a garnish do for the experience?

Here are their insights:

“In my opinion food should be the garnish in its own edible form. The old form of garnishes are out of trend. You might say, Elvis Parsley is no longer king or has left the restaurant! I prefer to see the plate like an artist palate. For example, a beet carpaccio with fanned out sliced beets with a dollop of goat cheese is eye catching and makes the food more appealing. Customers eat with their eyes and this is precisely why you see so many customers taking food selfies. The top restaurateurs understand "the art of food is from their palate to your palate."


“Food garnishes in their traditional forms are edible, however does a person dining actually eat a piece of parsley on a prepared dish? Not to say that they can’t but most don’t eat the garnish as it hasn’t been appealing or appetizing. If the garnish becomes part of the dish and is the right component of the dish it can enhance the flavor or texture profile when consumed with the dish. For example, I make a braised boneless beef short ribs sliders with garnish of caramelized onions. It can be actually the best dining experiences are when the garnish becomes part of the embellishment of a dish to enhance the customers palate.”


An herb’s blossom tastes like the herb itself. So, thyme blossoms are subtly thyme-flavored; arugula blossoms taste like arugula, with a hint of honeysuckle. In season, look for blossoming herbs at the farmers’ market — or in the vegetable garden. Notice how an ordinary bunch of rosemary or sage is flecked with delicate, perfumed flowers.

Of course, there are other beautiful edible flowers to consider, like calendula and nasturtium and borage and marigold, ready to sprinkle, like fairy dust, as a garnish, or to make your food even more colorful.


Today’s culinary playground is fierce as foodservice venues and chefs try to compete with each other for dining clients and loyalty.

Variety and purpose of garnishes are being reimagined. It needs to become an important component of sustainability as in the past, the garnish in a traditional sense was added as eye appeal then discarded by the customer and not consumed. Waste!! However, if a chef creates a garnish that can be consumed and enhances the customer dining experience, the garnish becomes that add flavor or texture that separates recipes from competitors’ recipes. See pictures slideshow of other ideas to incorporate into your flavor, taste and sight experience. Use your imagination and reach beyond. We eat with our eyes and if it looks and tastes better we can get better nutrition too!

Written by Marsha Diamond, MA, RDN

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Top 10 Reasons Your Facility Should Be Gluten/Allergen Free

10. Raise Awareness – Heightened awareness is critical to the welfare of this population so that they can be served safely by knowledgeable staff and facilities.  We are very passionate about this cause and try to spread the word as much as possible.

9. Fulfill the Need - As demonstrated by the trends and facts, this topic requires greater awareness to meet the needs of the patients, residents and patrons.

8. Ease Your Worries – Putting a formal program into your facility will ease your worries that people can dine safely and have their needs met.  No one wants to see people get sick.

7.  Take Pride – This is a wonderful opportunity to provide a work environment that is topnotch and demonstrates caring and that you have taken the extra step to do the right thing!

6. Instill Confidence – The most important aspect of providing a formal program is that you will instill confidence with the patients, residents and patrons that you know what you are doing and that they should not fear that they will get sick.  In addition, the staff will have a renewed sense of confidence as they have been given the knowledge to do the right thing.

5.  Pro-Active – Be the first and become a role model.

4. Regulatory Compliance – From the start, develop the program so that it will be compliant with the FDA Labeling Laws and other regulatory body standards - federal, state, local, Joint Commission.

3. Well Educated Staff – Knowledge is power which will increase confidence in the patients, residents and patrons, and your staff.  This new program needs to be comprehensive so that it covers all facets including clinical and practical aspects.

2. Change Agent- Start a movement and be a best practice facility for your peers to look up to.  It will be great publicity for your institution

1.  Patient/Patron Safety and Satisfaction!!!!! – Ultimate Goal which can be accomplished with the implementation of a formal gluten/allergen-free food service program following the guidelines presented today.

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5 Food Trends in Healthcare

Bowls

     Eating food from a bowl is comforting and wholesome. Foodservice facilities have come to realize that bowls are a wonderful vessel for more than just soups or cereal. Health care facilities and restaurants alike are utilizing bowls to create portable, comforting meals. Plus, bowls can also provide your customers with a sense of independence. Both from flavor, taste, and even to better person centric care for the physically challenged feeder.


Local Food

     The catchword, "local" has become a symbol of trust. As a result of the internet and social media, consumers are more likely to trust their small local farmer who offers healthy, seasonal foods. Often, food service operators use the names of these local farms in menu marketing.

     Consumers are not the only ones trusting in local food, physicians recognize the preventative health benefits of sustainable food systems. Now, a number of hospitals are using their massive food purchases, which feed both patients and staff, to support local food. Hospitals have a huge purchasing power and by supporting local food, the local economy is strengthened and healthier options are available at the hospital’s food service facility. “Hospitals hope that by modeling good eating habits and supporting local food systems, patients will take good eating habits home and communities will have greater access to fresher, whole foods.”


Chefs

     Hospital food is turning gourmet! Many medical centers have hired executive chefs to upgrade their food service menus, types of foods utilized and preparation techniques.

     Hospitals also hope these higher patient satisfaction rates will influence potential healthcare customers, like those looking for a place to have a baby or get elective surgery. Not only does chef-driven food at hospitals attract these new consumers, but there might be more at stake for hospitals than simply attracting new consumers. Under the Affordable Care Act, federal reimbursement is being linked more and more to patient satisfaction scores.


Condiments from Scratch

     By creating condiments and specialties from scratch, healthcare food service facilities gain a reputation for offering fresh, wholesome food for their patients, plus cultural diversity and ethnic flavorings. Consumers demand authenticity and this trend of making condiments from scratch can have a positive impact on their perception. Plus, the great thing about offering homemade condiments and specialty items is that the production may take place during off hours or may be done off-premise, thus the foodservice operation's workflow is not altered.


Individualistic Delivery

     Healthcare food service facilities are shifting to a more individualistic food service delivery model. The industry is seeing dining trends that are based on providing freshly prepared items, which are driving hospital foodservice operations to migrate from more batch-style cooking to models such as room service. Thus, patients are now given the opportunity to order what they would like to eat, when they are ready to eat. In turn, the shift to individualistic food service delivery has greatly increased the quality and freshness of hospital food. Another wonderful benefit of offering patients’ individualistic food service delivery is that facilities are now able to closely monitor patients with special nutritional requirements or allergies.

     Many healthcare foodservice facilities are offering ‘a la carte’ options. Special diets with a simple philosophy: “fresh, homemade selections minimizing the use of fat and sodium.” They want patients to taste the food, with most menu items being made to order to optimize freshness and minimize waste.

     Senior dining is focusing on individualized approaches too their person centric care approach. Giving each individual what they want from food, flavor, location and timing is being addressed for today’s customers.