08 Dec Continuing Quality Food Service to Residents During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19 there will be times when we are extremely short-staffed due to staff members testing positive or caring for loved ones who are ill, even in light of not having COVID-19 people call off all the time and dietary is frequently short staff to start off with so you may need to convert foods to your emergency menu to use that food first or other options to continue providing quality food service to our residents. Here are ways to improve and continue meeting resident nutritional needs during COVID-19 & the challenges we may face:
- First in, first out, use your emergency food before it expires. I just got a tag at a facility because they had Navy beans that had been left on the shelf for over two years and their emergency supplies. Let’s flip that food out to be cost-effective, make sure that you collaborate with the dietitian on appropriate.
- Cross-train your staff, the cooking that you would do in a facility, maybe a very convenience-oriented menu and you may not need a cook. An aide might be able to do that if the cook is sick.
- Backup supply, disposable service, wherever because they’re writing shortages in the future.
- RDN collaborative substitutions & alternatives
- Keep staff updated with any procedure changes
I can assure you that staff shortages will occur if they’re not already occurring especially with falls as people are being closer together. Many restaurants have closed because they can’t make it work 50% occupancy so we have to adapt. We have to change our menus based on what we can and cannot get based on our labor. If you have two people out with COVID-19 and you can’t hire anybody until the decision is made about when they’re coming back or you don’t use a temp agency, change your menu where you can be successful getting out quality foods. You want to educate your team members and let them know if we are changing the menu. People are empathetic and understand if we have to change the menu cause you had 2 call-offs. We want to alter those menus and not cost. You can alter a menu and not cost your budget. Using seasonal projects is an excellent idea. Using canned items like canned sweet potatoes or less laborious and less expensive and fresh sweet potatoes. using a 90% juice blend or using a 80% orange juice and 20% pear juice is less costly than a hundred percent orange juice using hydration beverages between meals. It’s great to send food to a unit in this styrofoam container because the heat retention is excellent on this dish and bean-based soups are very, very good crowd pleaser so there are comfort foods. People are afraid in all kinds of industries of COVID-19 we want and demand starches and comfort foods as a society. The patient or you as a staff member, people are eating more comfort foods, ditch the salad bars and dessert bars. Single-serve is the way to go to keep COVID at bay. For more information on safely providing nutrition to residents in our behavioral facilities, check out our latest webinar, Keeping You, Your Clients, and Staff Healthy While Delivering Safe, High-Quality Food and Dining Services.