Serving food to residents/patients

  1. should food remain covered until the food is placed in front of the resident/patient?

    i've retyped this several times, hope you understand what i am trying to say and ask. i became a cna so many years ago, don't remember where my course manual is (and it may be outdated).

    i'm currently working at a ltc facility (although this topic might apply to other medical facilities, too). the food is prepared in the kitchen, the plate is covered with a 'hat', cups and glasses with small disk like covers, all is on a tray which is placed into a truck and delivered to my floor. many of the residents eat in the dining room, others eat in their rooms.

    i have seen some coworkers take the tray, place on the nurse's station, uncover all, cut up the food, then carry the tray with the uncovered food to the resident.

    i have not received the answer i am looking for. coworkers have said "that's the way the other shift does it; it doesn't make any difference as long as they get their food". charge nurse has said "i don't know the answer". don said "that's a good topic for an inservice" which hasn't happened yet.

    i think the food should remain covered until placed in front of the resident. if the state comes in and sees food being carried down the hallway uncovered .....

    btw, i did call my state ... after being connected/redirected several times to different departments (nursing, health, food service) and a couple of times back to the same department, i gave up.

    [color=white].
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   txspadequeenRN
    in my facility it is policy to leave all food covered until it is in frony of the patient and ready to be eaten. our reasoning for this is bacteria falls down and we all know that nursing homes are the cleanest places right???? also it lets out the heat (if there was any to begin with). i am a charge nurse in a ltc center and i get :angryfire mad mad mad :angryfire when residents are served cold food. it is great that you are thinking about your patients and their welfare. i bet you are a great cna, these little people need us to look out for them and sounds like you are doing a great job!!!





    Quote from pat53
    should food remain covered until the food is placed in front of the resident/patient?

    i've retyped this several times, hope you understand what i am trying to say and ask. i became a cna so many years ago, don't remember where my course manual is (and it may be outdated).

    i'm currently working at a ltc facility (although this topic might apply to other medical facilities, too). the food is prepared in the kitchen, the plate is covered with a 'hat', cups and glasses with small disk like covers, all is on a tray which is placed into a truck and delivered to my floor. many of the residents eat in the dining room, others eat in their rooms.

    i have seen some coworkers take the tray, place on the nurse's station, uncover all, cut up the food, then carry the tray with the uncovered food to the resident.

    i have not received the answer i am looking for. coworkers have said "that's the way the other shift does it; it doesn't make any difference as long as they get their food". charge nurse has said "i don't know the answer". don said "that's a good topic for an inservice" which hasn't happened yet.

    i think the food should remain covered until placed in front of the resident. if the state comes in and sees food being carried down the hallway uncovered .....

    btw, i did call my state ... after being connected/redirected several times to different departments (nursing, health, food service) and a couple of times back to the same department, i gave up.

    [color=white].
  4. by   Nurse Ratched
    You are correct that state board of health would have a stroke. Plus the food gets cold.
  5. by   Agnus
    My understanding is that it should remain covered until placed in front of the patient.

    I have worked at numerous falcilities Acute and LTC as a CNA and and as a nurse. The covers are there for a reason (just don't ask me what the reason is. I can only take an educated guess)
  6. by   nurseygrrl
    Yes, the food is to remain covered, and if a patient needs assistance with cutting up food, fixing coffee/tea etc., the rule is that it should be done in front of the patient.
  7. by   ?burntout
    It should remain covered until it is in front of the patient.

    The only time you would lift the cover off of a plate is before you go into a pregnant patient's room that has hyperemesis gravidarum-lift the cover for a moment or 2 to allow the smell to disperse so when they lift the lid they are not overcome with all those smells...thus hopefully reducing their nausea.
  8. by   PBAJS
    Thanking you all for your responses.

    My thoughts before posting were about carrying the tray with the uncovered food as I walk into the dining room or down the hallway passing visitors, coworkers and residents who might be sneezing or coughing. Didn't I read somewhere there are invisible droplets from sneezing or coughing that become airborne and travel x number of feet before landing (on the food)?

    Hadn't thought about the food getting cold as I have not heard that complaint.

    HerEyes73 " ... and if a patient needs assistance with cutting up food, fixing coffee/tea etc., the rule is that it should be done in front of the patient."

    A few coworkers place the tray in front of the resident and then walk away. I always (well, maybe I shouldn't say always :chuckle ) ask if the resident would like some help (especially when I float to another floor). Some residents may have arthritic hands or be uncoordinated and won't ask for help. If they do accept my help, I will fix the coffee/tea, open the milk carton and pour into the glass. I will cut the food on the plate and if there is cake or fruit for dessert, I will cut into bite size pieces.

    txspadequeen921 posted "It is great that you are thinking about your patients and their welfare. I bet you are a great CNA, these little people need us to look out for them and sounds like you are doing a great job!!!"

    Thank you. Off topic ... but, just wanted the share ... there is a resident that after putting her in bed, I would stand nearby and go thru a little verbal list that may include: you have your call light, TV controller, pillows ok? We gave each other a thumbs up sign. A month or so ago, I put my finger to my mouth and blew her a kiss. It's now become a nightly routine for the thumbs up and to blow each other a kiss. :chuckle Sure, it takes a few extra minutes. One time after taking a few days off she said "I missed you." She gave me a thumbs up and a kiss in the air at 3:15.

  9. by   MandyInMS
    I hope when I'm old and in the NH I have a CNA like you Pat
  10. by   shel_wny
    Pureed mac and cheese is hard enough to eat.
    But cold pureed mac and cheese is impossible!
    I'm pretty sure the droplet route of transmission is 3ft all around, Pat53.
    Good point!
    Keep those hats on folks!
    Even if the person is a feed I keep the tops on and hot drinks covered until I have the chance to sit and offer the food to the resident. It's how we would all like it, right?

    Shel
  11. by   Nurse Ratched
    Quote from shel_wny
    Pureed mac and cheese is hard enough to eat.
    But cold pureed mac and cheese is impossible!
    EWWWWW!!!!! There's a visual I won't get out of my head anytime soon lol.

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