Maintaining food health and hygiene practices in hospitals and aged care
The current worldwide pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the food and drink industry, with particular concern around achieving the best possible health and safety practices for catering in essential service settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities. In addition to the challenges facing the wider industry, we understand that hospitals and care facilities are also acutely aware of the demographics of their patients and residents as particularly high risks groups. According to the Australian Department of Health, groups at heightened risk during the current pandemic include those in group residential environments, anyone aged 70 and over, people aged 65 and over with chronic health conditions (dropping to 50 or over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people), and people with already compromised immune systems. This clearly presents a number of specific concerns for the healthcare industry, so maintaining appropriate food and drink related safety practices will be part of safeguarding the general health of patients, residents and workers as the pandemic develops.
Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, has been among the most often heard terms during the current global health issues. The Australian Institute of Food Safety (AIFS) suggests that PPE includes the types of disposable gloves familiar to many in the food service industry. Disposable gloves might well become an even more important product for food workers in healthcare settings. The AIFS also highlights that proper training in the use of disposable gloves is paramount and that they should be replaced every 30 minutes at a minimum or as necessary. Issues relating to personal hygiene, especially regular and effective hand-washing and sanitising, will always be a key health priority. While the AIFS recognise that hand hygiene can be among the most difficult practices to enforce,educational products such as food handling guides and posters, including best practice handwashing reminders can help ingrain the importance of consistent health and hygiene procedures for staff dealing directly with food and drink, other healthcare staff, residents and visitors.
Practical, well designed and high quality food labels will remain a key part of establishing and maintaining appropriate food health and hygiene procedures in hospitals and aged care facilities. Food labels have long been an easy, convenient and effective method of ensuring best practice across areas including day and date information, stock rotation, and allergen information. Fildes also provide food labels specifically designed for the needs of health and aged care sector, where resident-specific preparation and service plays a vital part in maintaining the best possible health outcomes.
We recognise that the current global health situation presents a number of challenging issues for our customers in the health and aged care sector. Contact us to discuss how our range of products can help you to maintain and improve your food health and hygiene procedures, both now and into the future.