There isn’t a healthcare leader in the world today not already aware of and/or responding to the current COVID-19 crisis, and the struggles have been insurmountable to say the least. However, some of the greatest struggles that continue to go unnoticed are those related to nutrition and foodservice for coronavirus patients. Coronavirus patients across the country are suffering from a wide range of symptoms, from seemingly no changes at all, to loss of smell and taste, extreme nausea, excessive coughing, sore throats, difficulty swallowing, and more that directly affect appetite – and all become isolated upon admission, leaving foodservice staffs unable to address specific concerns and provide truly personal care. Of course, foodservice departments are fighting back with creative solutions to help guarantee patient health and safety!
Kathleen Carrozza, RD, assistant director of food and retail services at Stony Brook Hospital, recently exposed some of the many challenges her facility in particular has faced caring for a patient population that at its peak consisted of 70% coronavirus patients. Uncertainty in how severe the virus could become and how long it will be around, for one, initially made keeping up with on-demand style meal services difficult, yet a quick switch to preparing a few thoughtfully nutritious options ahead of time just in case has been a real timesaver. Another struggle has been keeping food warm when using disposable trays, which has led to a shift in serving more cold/raw foods that keep better if/when patients don’t eat right away. Finally, with patients less likely to want to eat at all, using software to record meal patterns and dietary preferences have made it easier to customize unique menus for each patient to ensure every patient is at least eating something.
It’s more important for patients suffering from coronavirus to keep up their strength by eating whatever they can tolerate than to try and force whole balanced diets on them, meaning appropriate connectivity and collaboration has remained crucial for care facilities everywhere. During such times, each department has to be aware of what every patient needs/wants, if there are any ingredient/supply shortages that may require adjustments/substitutions, and anything else going on that could affect the nutrition and health of patients. A lot of patients with coronavirus are only going to only be able to consume softer meals, like puréed foods, making smoothies, ice cream, and similar options ideal for fast calories – though they may not be the most nutritious. Supplement shakes can be a great compromise. The main thing to remember is that each patient is different, and will respond to the virus differently. While some might maintain their normal appetites, many will need additional accommodations or supplements and snacks to keep up their strength, and keeping every member of your staff organized and on the same page is vital to ensuring he health and safety of everyone.
Connect with Vision Software today to learn more about how our various foodservice software applications can help automate your diet offices and enable your staff to provide safer care and optimal nutrition to your patients with coronavirus. If you need additional support, Vision Software and our array of impressively innovative food service software applications will always be here for you! Call 629.777.8989, or fill in the free consultation form in the sidebar, to learn more about how Vision Software can positively impact the lives of the patients and visitors you service every day.