Crises are something healthcare facilities face almost daily. From patient emergencies and natural disasters, to the recent pandemic the spread across the globe, there’s simply never a shortage of obstacles to overcome – and the same can be said of your facility’s foodservice department.
Luckily, effectively managing your healthcare foodservice operations during crisis starts with planning. Your crisis management plan will need to be unique to your facility’s operational and regulatory needs, while still flexibly accounting for government regulations and future impositions. However, beyond that there are really only three main concerns you truly need to focus on to make sure your foodservice operations run smoothly no matter what is going on in the world around you.
For any crisis management plan to effectively protect patients during an emergency, every member of your staff must be trained, or at the very least able to access detailed instructions on how to, appropriately react and respond to any given emergency. In terms of foodservice operations, this means making sure everyone understands what needs to happen to get patients fed safely should there ever be an emergency that diminishes food supplies, prevents supply deliveries, or otherwise interrupts normal daily foodservice operations. You will want to make sure you also train non-foodservice staff to know how to jump in and provide potentially life-saving nutritional care or support should the need ever arise. For instance, if your facility has a backup generator for the kitchen, every member of your staff needs to know what exactly is connected to it, how long its power will last, and what to do if/when it fails. Making sure your staffs understand how to quickly adapt to any circumstance, for any department, is the only way your foodservice operations will be able to thrive during crisis.
Having a hefty reserve of food, water, and other nutritional necessities is crucial in any emergency. If you lose power, for example, you will need to have non-perishable meals at the ready for your patients, as well as a plan for using up any ingredients expected to go bad. If there’s a food supply shortage, your nutrition leaders need to have alternative solutions in place for sourcing different vendors or ingredients. The key here is flexibility. You never know what type of emergency is about to happen or when, which is why everyone has to be prepared for anything at all times – and you need supplies for that. At the very least, your foodservice department should have:
- Three-seven days of non-perishable food and clean water;
- Three-seven days of disposable utensils and place settings;
- Readily available contact information for various disaster-support organizations;
- Readily available contact information for all employees;
- An emergency-contact plan that details who will take charge of your facility’s foodservice operations during an emergency;
- An up-to-date list of patients and their dietary needs and preferences;
- A “Continuity of Operations Plan” to outline how everything will run “without utilities or personnel” if need be.
Safe food handling and proper hygiene are already important when it comes to healthcare foodservice operations, but during an emergency, the stakes are even higher. Whether the emergency in question is a flood that taints your facility’s water supply, or a virus that quarantines most of your patients, cleanliness is critical for upholding quality patient care and service standards.
Learn more about managing healthcare foodservice operations during crisis, and arming your facility with technologies capable of automating patient safety and foodservice efficiency, by getting in touch with Vision Software today. 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.