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How Can We Raise Our Food Temperature Satisfaction?

Question

Our scores for food temperatures have been in the mid 80s. Do you know of other organizations that have improved their scores? Do you have pointers in how we can script our staff so that if patients aren’t satisfied with their meal, they won’t hesitate to let us know?

Answer

Here are some suggestions from a partner hospital in Florida:

  1. Put routine checkpoints in place that verify proper meal temperatures before the meal is ever brought to the unit for service. Depending upon the operational systems, this could be at the tray line or re-therm point.
  2. Evaluate travel time from the initial temperature checkpoint. It’s common for meal temperatures to vary out of range if travel distance, elevator wait time, or other delays are not addressed.
  3. Ensure that the person who delivers the meal touches the plate lid or container just prior to entering the patient’s room to verify that temperatures are within range.
  4. If a patient is asleep or out of the room for a test, avoid leaving the meal tray at the bedside table. Ideally, the tray should be placed in the unit’s refrigerator and heated when the patient is ready to eat.
  5. Implement a check-back process that confirms the patient is pleased, not only with the meal temperature, but also with selection and quality in general.