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How does Central Supply Functionality Affect Patient Experience

It is well known that the healthcare field has been experiencing some challenges lately, but this does not mean that patients expect less of an experience during their time at your healthcare facility. While the labor shortage is still greatly affecting this industry, there are ways to help continue providing premium experiences to patients.

One of the best ways to provide patients with the best experience is ensuring your facility prioritizes organization. Making sure your central supplies are organized is key. Here are some solutions for creating a more organized central supply.

Bin Carts:

These carts are ideal for storing various supplies in different compartments. Having labels on these bins helps to improve organization, but also considering color-coding bins for different types of supplies is also a great way to shorten the time it takes staff to find the supplies needed for their patient. Organized bin carts allow providers to spend more time helping the patient, and less time in the supply room.

Distribution Supply Carts:

Having an organized central supply is very important, but it is also important to have a way to transport supplies and equipment out of that space so that they can easily be brought to other areas in the facility. Distribution supply carts do just that and provide ease in transport ensuring supplies stay secure and in place during transport.

Medical Storage Systems: 

Whether it's an enclosed cabinet, or a cabinet with glass doors and shelving, lockable storage is very important in central supply. Certain supplies and medications need to be locked into a secure space. Having various storage systems for different needs is very important to keeping organization a priority, and Lakeside offers a wide variety of cabinets that not only provide functionality, but also mobility.

Organization in central supply has positive impacts on both healthcare providers and patients. When supplies are organized, it is easier for providers to find exactly what they need to ensure a timely turnaround back to their patient. Explore more of Lakeside's central supply carts here! 

 

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What Utility Cart is Best for Your Healthcare Facility?

What Utility Cart is Best for Your Healthcare Facility?

When trying to determine which utility cart is best for your healthcare facility, there are a few simple guidelines that can help make the decision easier. At clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities, it's important to determine the "W's" that will lead you to the right choice, so let's walk through those basics now and then we'll provide you with a great tool to help you select the best utility cart for your healthcare facility.

WHAT WILL YOU TRANSPORT?

This is the most basic and most obvious question you'll need to answer. What are you moving from one place to another, and how much do the items you're transporting weigh? The reality is this will impact your utility cart choice in two distinct and important ways. First, the more weight you'll move, the heavier duty a cart will need to be. Our carts are built with different levels of durability so that they can withstand different levels of usage. Moving 500 pounds of equipment and supplies on a cart designed to transport 250 pounds can be a major safety hazard, and your cart will not last. Second, the shape of the items you're planning to move will impact the shelving requirements on the cart.

WHERE WILL YOU TRANSPORT IT?

Casters will play a key role in a utility cart's capabilities. The main question to ask is:  "what types of surfaces will my utility cart travel on" in your healthcare facility. If the answer is smooth and even inside surfaces, like hallways or patient rooms, the caster requirements will be different compared to uneven surfaces you may encounter if you intend to use a cart for transport across your facility. In that case, your cart will go over various types of floor surfaces, some smooth and some that are rough and uneven and may cause more movement to a cart.

WHEN WILL THE CART BE USED?

This is a question operators may not think about. The fact is when utility carts are designed and manufactured here at Lakeside, we create carts designed for varying levels of usage. Incurring the expense of a cart designed to be used 20 hours per day isn't cost-effective for an operation that only needs to use the cart during a single, 12 hour shift. Likewise, a cart designed for minimal usage will not cut it for higher-demand operations. How long you plan to use the cart each day plays a big role.

So which cart is right for you?

Answering that question correctly includes cross-referencing the items above to hit an option that fits your best overall needs and challenges. Lakeside has a full range of utility cart offerings. To help you find the cart that is just right, we have put together a comprehensive utility cart load capacity calculator that walks you though step by step to find the right load capacity you need. Once you know your load capacity, this process is narrowed down even more. Click the button below to take our Utility Cart Load Capacity Calculator.

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Why are Ergonomics Important in Healthcare?

When you walk into a healthcare facility, you will be sure to see healthcare workers quickly moving from one task to the next. With the fast pace environment of healthcare facilities, often involving long shifts, it is crucial to understand the ergonomic stressors that staff may experience. Understanding these stressors will allow you to be proactive in preventing injuries, specifically Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), for staff members.

Healthcare workers are an essential component to providing for patients, but with this, they are exposed to different ergonomic stressors. Many of the daily tasks within healthcare create awkward postures and positions that can lead to injuries for staff. According to OSHA, "Work-related MSDs can be prevented. Ergonomics, fitting a job to a person, helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs."

It is essential to provide equipment that helps eliminate some of the ergonomic stressors healthcare workers experience. What should you be looking for in your equipment to help reduce the ergonomic stressors placed on your staff? Here are some components that help reduce work related injuries for healthcare workers.

Easy Maneuvering with All-Swivel Casters:

Medical carts that are being used to push and pull loads need to be able to smoothly move and roll with ease. This factor is key to providing easy transportation of equipment and supplies and continuous hauling of both heavy and light loads. These casters also allow for easy maneuverability over uneven floors, creating ease for staff. All-swivel casters help reduce the level of effort needed to push a cart, which then puts less stress on the operator who now has less strain on their body. While it may seem like a small thing to use a little bit of extra effort to push a cart, over time, this repetitive action may lead to injuries.

Safe Zone Shelving for Repetitive Loading and Unloading:

Bending down and back up multiple times can be straining. Healthcare workers are often bending down to gather supplies, but having safe zone shelving can help reduce these risks. The level of these shelves are designed for staff who are continuously loading and unloading, keeping ergonomics in mind to limit the possibility for injury. Safe Zone shelf heights are designed to improve accessibility and decrease strain on the user. Lakeside's Ergo-One series has a bottom shelf that is further from the ground which helps significantly in reducing the level of bending effort required by the user.

Ergonomic Handles:

Having an ergonomic handle for a natural grip is yet another important aspect in reducing work-related injuries. This handle helps the operator to keep control over the cart. This is very important as a uncontrollable cart that makes unpredictable turns poses many risks to the operator. Lakeside developed an angled handle that allows for a comfortable grip to reduce strain on the user.

 

Healthcare workers are exposed to a variety of ergonomic risks that can lead to injury from the equipment they use to the patients they are helping. Using equipment that is designed to help reduce ergonomic risks is one of the many ways healthcare facilities can provide their staff with less ergonomic strain, which overall provides a better work environment for their employees.

Lakeside offers a wide selection of ergonomically engineered medical carts designed to help reduce the ergonomic stressors healthcare workers experience. Learn more about our ergonomically engineered carts and see the difference they can make at your facility.

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Improving Employee Morale at Your Healthcare Facility

Improving Employee Morale at Your Healthcare Facility

It is well known that the healthcare field has been experiencing low levels of employee retention. While there are less employees coming in to work each day, the same amount of patients are still expecting a high quality of care in a timely manner. With less employees and the same patient demands, healthcare workers are put in a tough position.

Employee morale is a great concern for every healthcare facility today as employees are working overtime multiple days a week, often days in a row, causing them to have little to no time for rest. As healthcare workers have experienced staffing shortages for a while now, the effects are starting to be extremely noticeable.

So the question is, how can you help improve employee morale for your team? According to the CDC, "Workplace health programs can improve morale and organization reputation." Here are a few areas to consider in workplace health programs that not only focus on physical well-being, but mental well-being as well.

Supporting Employee Mental Health:

This aspect of our health affects so many areas of our life, including our energy and drive while at work. Actions speak louder than words, so consider showing employees that you value their mental health rather than just stating that you do. Consider offering mental health PTO days giving your team members an opportunity to care for themselves.

Streamlining Communication:

Creating open communication amongst your team is a great way to increase employee morale as they feel knowledgeable and aware of what is happening amongst the team and at the facility. This also leads to less confusion and uncertainty down the road. An easy way to alleviate stress is communicating ahead of time. While this is not always an option in healthcare as uncertain events are bound to happen, where you are able to offer this, make sure you to offer that open line of communication. When your team knows they can always come to you, this can help reduce stress and improve your teams' morale.

Employee Recognition:

Consider creating an employee recognition program where team members can submit the name of someone who is doing an outstanding job with patients, working well with the team, or in other areas. Then take time to celebrate that person's efforts and contributions to your healthcare facility in front of your team. Recognition is a huge motivator from humans.

Investing in Employee Physical Health:

While employee mental health is crucial to focus on in healthcare, it is also important to ensure your teams' physical health is being prioritized. Your team is on their feet most of the day, moving equipment around to provide care for patients. Using equipment that is designed to reduce injuries is a great way to showcase the importance you place on physical health.

Lakeside offers a selection of Ergonomically Engineered Carts that are built to provide safety, durability, and comfort for your staff. The design of these carts provide ease for daily activities are your healthcare facility and are an investment your team will be sure to thank you for.

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2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

Here are the highlights of our healthcare foodservice blogs from this year.

In the face of a global pandemic, we saw healthcare systems pushed to their limits. As we adapted to this new environment in 2020, we saw a change in how healthcare foodservice is handled, from delivery to sanitation to everything in between. Not only were these new solutions designed to keep patients safe, but healthcare staff safe as well.

Here are the highlights of what we saw transpire in healthcare foodservice this year:

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

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2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

Here are the highlights of our senior care foodservice blogs from this year.

Senior care facilities were put on high alert early on during the Coronavirus pandemic. With residents at a higher risk than most, it has been vital for senior care staff to continue to deliver necessary foodservice safely. Meal delivery during COVID-19 has never been as important, and with the right tools, it was being done in a safe, effective manner. The changes we saw over the course of 2020 will no doubt impact how senior care foodservice is handled as we embark on the new year.

Here are the biggest takeaways of the significant changes we witnessed in senior care foodservice in 2020.

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

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How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

Pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan.

Many have prepared for emergencies like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or mass shootings, but a pandemic was not on the list for the near future. Since being prepared is key to any good action plan, a lot of pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan. Nonetheless, they stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with response plans created to anticipate the worst, respond immediately, and adapt to the inevitable changes to come. Circumstances differ from hospital to hospital due to location and outbreak, but food service leaders are working hard to keep providing food to patients and staff. Continue reading How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

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Did Someone Order Delivery? In-Room Service Gains Traction

In-Room Service Gains Traction Amongst Hospitals & Care Facilities Across The Country

The limitations and closures of gathering points in hospitals due to COVID-19 have impacted in-room service. However, special attention to in-room service was gaining traction well before the pandemic began. Doctors have always said food can be more than fuel for your body, and with the right nutrients, it can help in the healing process too. Some hospitals are using that concept, as well as patient experience, to change the stereotypes of hospital food for the better and improve patient satisfaction.  Let’s take a look at three healthcare facilities in particular that have started to take a more hospitality-inspired approach to in-room service.

UCLA HEALTH SYSTEM

Open 6:45 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., UCLA offers a restaurant ordering system where the kitchen cooks meals on-demand with menus updated to physician requested, plant-based meals with protein optional additions. Regularly scheduled tray service is still available to neuropsychiatry patients, which is why UCLA’s kitchen is separated into two sections to cater to both types of services.

Keeping in mind there is a 90-minute window between mealtimes, UCLA staff alternates between making and sending 25 trays to 1 unit in neuropsychiatric care and cooking and delivering room service tickets. This staggered approach has eliminated many challenges associated with offering both services.

Room service at UCLA is promised to arrive within 45 minutes but averages 28 minutes. What’s their secret? Food lifts.

Each floor has a dedicated cart with a timer for seven minutes. The cart is wheeled into the lift,  sent up to its designated floor, and the patient is immediately notified. To ensure quality, the cart enters into a pantry where hot and cold additions are added just before being taken to the patient, and the meal is delivered with food and drinks at the correct temperatures.

JOHNS HOPKINS HEALTH SYSTEM

John Hopkins offers Hotel-style, on-demand room service to their patients. They name this style of service the Johns Hopkins At Your Request program. Doctors realized there was a lot of food waste when they had patients ordering the day before, resulting in many being unavailable to receive their meals.

The John Hopkins At You Request program gives patients the flexibility to order their meals anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and receive it within 60 minutes. To better accommodate nutritional diets prescribed to patients, John Hopkins also provides a nutritional department to help assist in meal decisions. Their diverse menu options are a significant factor in the success of the program.

The freedom to choose between traditional hospital foods like meatloaf and upscale items like salmon makes the patient feel satisfied with their meal experience, even when they don’t order the extravagant items. In fact, the majority stick with the traditional items, while the occasional upscale orders bring comfort to patients and family members who need it.

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

St. Jude’s primary focus is on young patients and their families. Patients aren’t limited to in-hospital care, as many of their outpatients go through treatment at nearby housing sponsored by St. Jude and receive their customized meals there. They use a Combi Oven to deliver quality food within expectations of 30 – 45 minutes. As for their future plans for servie? They’re expected to upgrade their systems to TV-operated ordering services and explore newer cooking technologies. Nonetheless, their specialty is in the services they provide.

Considering the age of their patients, their happiness is a priority. The chef often greets patients with a hug and smile, with meals that are fully specialized to encourage the patient to eat and heal. So much so, that patients have even gone to the kitchen to teach the chefs how to make their food!

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4 Ways Improved Hand Hygiene Can Change the World as We Know It

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have become hyper-aware of the importance of proper hand hygiene. Yet, there still exist various misconceptions regarding the proper way to wash hands, while others still downplay the value of regular handwashing. In fact, the benefits of washing your hands with soap and water go beyond reducing the transmission of coronaviruses. As societies across the globe continue to promote the importance of regular handwashing in a way that leads to a sustained improvement in hand hygiene, there are many positive outcomes that this can lead to outside of the coronavirus pandemic.

Proper Handwashing: A Review

Before we delve into the possible outcomes for regular handwashing, let’s discuss what we (think) we already know: Proper handwashing. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a flood of information educating people around the globe on proper hand hygiene in an effort to slow the virus’ spread. Government health agencies, including the WHO and the US-based CDC, provided excellent, detailed information to assist this movement. According to the CDC, the handwashing checklist is as follows:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Along with the various governmental promotions for hand hygiene, governments began encouraging celebrities and social media influencers to promote proper hand hygiene through the #handwashingchallenge. Before long, most of our social media feeds were overwhelmed with videos of athletes from Allison Becker of Brazil’s National soccer team, to movie stars to the likes of Hugh Jackman, encouraging hand hygiene to their millions of followers.

Before long, most of the world was stuck in a dizzying frenzy of hectic handwashing after touching any public surface, where many people began reporting severe dry hands due to excessive handwashing. Additionally, more specific questions began to arise, such as; How hard should I scrub my hands? – or – Is there such a thing as too much handwashing?

Mistakes and Misconceptions of Handwashing

As our handwashing becomes more frequent, many of us have inadvertently picked up bad habits in our hand hygiene. The most common being washing our hands too forcefully or too frequently. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, you should wash your hands at the following times:

  • After arriving at home
  • After coughing or blowing your nose
  • Before making or eating food
  • After playing with animals
  • After using the toilet
  • After being outdoors
  • Before and after changing contact lenses

Notice that it did not mention anything about vigorously washing your hands every 5 minutes from COVID-induced paranoia? All joking aside, the age-old truth regarding moderation in everything applies to handwashing as well. According to an article from Medscape Medical News, many of us are scrubbing our hands too hard, impacting an important top layer of our skin that helps keep germs away. It goes on to detail the fine line between rubbing versus scrubbing with Carrie Kovarik, MD from the Perelman School of Medicine remarking, “You don’t want to scrub because scrubbing will damage the skin barrier and possibly let in germs.” Instead of forcefully scrubbing our hands, doctors recommend gently washing hands in “a hand-over-hand motion, from palm to palm, back of the hands, around nails and up to the wrists.”

Possible Outcomes of Regular Handwashing

Now that we have established a clear picture of what proper hand hygiene looks like, we can imagine what outcomes might arise from regular handwashing. With the world’s attention focused on proper hand hygiene, many are wondering how this might impact population health outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. We can make many assumptions based on small scale benefits to populations and extrapolating those results across larger populations. Although these benefits are only potential outcomes, it is exciting to imagine the possibilities that can come about from this increased focus in hand hygiene.

Lower Incidences of Respiratory Diseases

In 2016, a study published in the Baltimore Medicine Journal observed a correlation between increased hand-washing and a reduction in influenza at a statistically significant level. Participants in the study were given a handwashing score based on the availability of washing stations and the availability of soap, among other factors. They were then evaluated for their protective effect towards confirmed influenza, and the researchers observed and analyzed which behaviors correlated with the groups with the highest protective effect. The highest behaviors associated with a high protective effect were frequent handwashing, the availability of soap for handwashing, and reduced levels of hand-to-face touching.

This study is one of many that organizations like the CDC and WHO refer to when making recommendations to national/international populations during a time of a pandemic. As we are all aware of the importance of handwashing in the reduction of COVID-19, this behavior is proven to reduce the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases as well. With this being said, it is possible that given the rapid, worldwide development in hand hygiene, we could be seeing lower levels of seasonal respiratory sicknesses in the future.

Decline in Healthcare-associated Infections

According to data from the CDC regarding healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), on a given day, about 3% of hospital patients has at minimum one HAI. Hospitals across the world are always looking for ways to reduce this statistic, as hospitalized individuals are often the most vulnerable to experience complications from infections. There are many common practices that hospitals enact to tackle this issue, with one of them being.. you guessed it, handwashing.

Healthcare workers follow strict protocols to ensure they are maintaining a clean environment for their patients and not tracking problematic pathogens throughout a facility. Handwashing is an important common practice that has been proven to reduce the risk of transmission of HAIs according to a 2002 CDC study. This is why most hospitals have sinks in patient rooms and also why we, at Lakeside, offer portable handwashing stations for areas that don’t have built-in sinks available.

If population health increases due to improved hand hygiene, hospitals could see a decrease in the number of potential illnesses entering a hospital environment. On a large scale, this could lead to an overall reduction in HAIs and improvements in patient health.

Improvement of Child Development in Developing Countries

In 2003 the CDC performed a study to monitor the effects of hygiene on child development and observed interesting results. When comparing groups who received an extensive 9 month hygiene promotion and soap against groups who did not receive the same hygiene education nor supplies, the children experienced nearly half as much diarrhea-related sicknesses than the control group in their first 2 ½ years of their lives, which is a critical time for child development. 6 years later, the children from the study were reevaluated for cognitive development. The children who received hygiene education and hygiene supplies scored higher than the control group. According to the study, the findings suggest that “handwashing promotion could be an important strategy for improving child welfare.”

Given the increased awareness around the world regarding proper hand hygiene and the increased availability of hygiene resources, it may be possible that the effects of the CDC study transfer to the real world. If this were to happen, we may see improvements in child development on a grand scale, as children in developed countries avoid illness and chronic inflammation related to diarrhea-linked diseases.

Reduction in Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is an issue of growing importance in the world. This takes place when bacteria evolves to overcome the intended effects of a given antibiotic. Various infections rely on antibiotics for treatment. If a bacteria develops antibiotic resistance, this has the potential to transform a curable sickness into a deadly illness.

The CDC states that the leading factor in antibiotic resistance is overuse of antibiotics. Many times, antibiotics are prescribed to individuals when they are not needed, leading to an increased risk of a bacteria developing antibiotic resistance. Research by the CDC indicates that handwashing leads to a reduction in diarrhea-related sicknesses and respiratory infections, diseases that are often unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics for treatment. Therefore, some speculate that a reduction in these diseases, due to handwashing or other factors, could impact global rates of antibiotic resistance.

The New Normal

Our world has quickly transformed into a hyper-aware, germaphobic one due to the brisk rise of the coronavirus pandemic, however, perhaps this acute awareness was long overdue. If international populations continue to emphasize hand hygiene in their COVID-19 responses and this leads to a sustained improvement in hand hygiene; we could see many beneficial outcomes that improve world populations beyond the pandemic. We have long been aware of the importance of hand hygiene in hospitals, schools and densely populated areas. Due to the sudden change in human behavior regarding hand hygiene, it is exciting to consider what possible outcomes might arise. As healthcare professionals, we will keep promoting proper hand hygiene and at Lakeside, we will continue to offer products that promote access to handwashing.

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Patients Eat With Their Eyes First

How a food looks tell the patient a lot about the food and the foodservice team accountability and experience. People use the way a food looks to judge the food for freshness and quality. When the food is visually appealing to a patient, you accomplish your mission of providing nourishment for the recovery and healing of your patients.

COLOR, SHAPE, SIZE AND POSITION OF FOOD MATTERS IN VISUAL APPEAL

COLOR: The most impactful eye appeal

  • Break up the colors
  • Enhance the colors
  • Make it “glisten”
  • Keep the colors natural

SHAPE: Ingredients

  • Vary the cuts of ingredients
  • Add textures to the dish

STYLE: Arranging ingredients, plating

  • Traditional – The Y style of plating
  • Modern plating
  • Simplicity

Aroma Strategies:

  • Include variety
  • Add flavor to comfort food
  • Herbs add color, taste and smell
  • Cooking techniques can enhance aroma and experience
  • Be aware of visual placement on the tray, temperature awareness, less is more, easy to handle and maneuver on tray space

For more on this topic, click here to watch Alluserv's last webinar!