In the past few months, more people have spent time in healthcare facilities than ever. Since the coronavirus appeared, patients have packed hospitals and clinics. Front line workers are definitely doing everything they can to keep the patients from overwhelming them, but they don’t have some of the critical supplies they need.
Hopefully, we should get control of the situation within the next few months. A concerted, top-down effort to prioritize healthcare spending and vaccine rollout implementation should help.
Meanwhile, many patients and families will continue spending time in clinics and hospitals, and they’ll learn all about the various amenities. Healthcare facility kitchens are one of those.
Let’s look at some things you’ll want to see if you’re spending time in a healthcare facility kitchen. You might not get all of them, but some of those on the list are better than none.
Cleanliness is the first and probably foremost thing you want to see in a healthcare facility kitchen. You will have no way to tell whether the industrial ovens in the back are spotless or any of the other food prep areas are. Probably, the only places you’ll see are the tables, the cafeteria floor, the silverware, plates, and so forth.
If you get silverware with your salad and notice there’s food stuck to it from the last guest, you won’t want to see that. If the plates are dirty, you’ll feel the same way. You’d also hope the staff is wearing hairnets if they have long hair and they’re not picking their noses, scratching themselves, or anything along those lines.
All the staff should also be wearing masks to protect against coronavirus spread. You’d think a hospital or medical facility staff would know how serious that is, but there are lapses all the time. If you see the kitchen or cafeteria staff not wearing masks, you could certainly complain to management about it.
At the moment, you’ll also want to see social distancing in healthcare facility food service areas. You’ll want to see it anywhere in the hospital, but it’s critical in a common area like a cafeteria.
If the tables are at least six feet apart, that’s helpful. Much like the staff not wearing masks, if you see that social distancing isn’t happening, you could speak to the hospital or clinic’s administration.
If you have relatives in the hospital, or you are there for some ailment yourself, you need to know everyone is taking the situation seriously.
A Polite Kitchen or Cafeteria Staff
You’ll also want to see a polite cafeteria or kitchen staff. You may not be able to see them smiling at you from behind their masks, nor can they see your facial expression. Still, if you speak to them, you would hope they will greet you courteously as they take your order.
All hospital and clinic workers are probably feeling a lot of stress these days, and that included food prep and service people as well as doctors, orderlies, and nurses. They are all likely working long hours, and while the food service crew doesn’t make life and death decisions, they’re still working in a tense atmosphere.
However, you’d hope they’d always greet you and speak to you warmly, or at least politely. You don’t want them to be surly, even if you know they don’t have easy jobs.
Some Different Food Options
If you’re spending a morning or afternoon at a clinic, it will probably not have food options. You’re not going to stay there for any significant length of time, though, so there do not need to be any.
If you are in a hospital, and you have to be there for more than a few hours, you’ll want there to be some different food options available. If you head to the cafeteria, it would be great if there’s an extensive menu. Maybe there are some meat or fish entrees, salads, soups, side dishes, and more.
You might not find a Michelin star meal there, but whatever you get, it should at least be edible and reasonably tasty. If you have to visit a sick relative for several days in a row, it would be ideal if there was a different menu each day, so things don’t get too monotonous.
If you have special dietary needs, like if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you might not find as much there for you. It would be wonderful if there were at least a few possible choices, though.
Some Snack Foods as Well as Meals
One more thing you’d like to see in a healthcare facility cafeteria are snack options available even when they are closed, or there’s only a skeleton crew around. If you have to visit a sick relative or friend, you may need to be there in the middle of the night. Maybe you’re there as part of a vigil if you’re not sure whether they will recover.
If the hospital has closed the cafeteria, and you’re hungry, you’d like to see some vending machines, at a minimum. Some chips and candy bars would be great, but if the machine has some healthier snacks, like cereal bars or unsalted nuts, that’s even better.
You’ll want there to be a drink machine so you can get a soda or some coffee. You might need the caffeine boost if you don’t want to fall asleep in your chair.
Very few people enjoy spending time in hospitals. You’re probably not there for any happy reason, except if you’re expecting a baby or something along those lines. If you work there, it’s your job to spend lots of hours in such a medical facility, but most other people are there for sadder reasons.
At a minimum, you want a hospital to have a clean kitchen and dining room, polite staff, some decent food options, and you want to see proper safety measures. All of that will make the situation a little more tolerable.