Do you have questions only a healthcare consulting expert can answer? LW Consulting, Inc. gives healthcare professionals the opportunity to ask questions that are answered by specialized industry experts. This month we answer the question, “What are some best practices for dining department operations?”
Dining department managers should be present during the meal service. This includes meal prep and service delivery to ensure compliance standards are being met. Is the food being cooked at the correct temperature with calibrated thermometers? Is your staff using the appropriate cooling process for leftover food? Assembling sample trays daily to ensure meals are being prepared in compliance with these best practices is key.
Another best practice, often overlooked, is the use of satisfaction surveys. Residents will not hesitate to tell you what they liked and/or disliked about that day’s meal service. The daily meals tend to be the highlight of our resident’s day and is a great opportunity to enhance the overall services provided at the community. As such, resident satisfaction should be the dining department’s utmost concern—especially considering the new survey process and the focus on resident-centered care.
Staff training is also a critical component. While some facilities do a great job at implementing mandatory training for dining staff, others lack formal processes. Training should be routine for newly hired and existing food services staff. Knowledge and understanding of the operations manual, including food handling procedures and sanitation guidelines come into play.
Finally, documentation must not be overlooked. The adage goes, “If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done.” In healthcare, everything must be documented and documented correctly.
For information, contact Emile LeDoux, Senior Consultant, at 717-213-3120 or email ELeDoux@LW-Consult.com.