Opening a new hospital kitchen is a complex endeavor that requires consideration of numerous elements. Well-organized timing of these elements is essential to ensuring your kitchen passes any regulatory requirements and opens on time and fully functional. The following five items should be analyzed and a thorough sequence of the details should be documented to ensure dependencies are discovered and accounted for:
- Equipment selection, validation, and procurement: consider who should be involved in the selection process, the nature and degree of technology integration of systems (such as temperature monitoring), installation lead time, and confirm adequate education is included in the purchase package.
- Supplies and consumables: Pots and pans, utensils, and cookware should be ordered and received prior to training. Perishables should be received and stocked in the new cabinets, refrigerators, and freezers prior to move day. Ensure there is a plan and timeline to stock the department pantries and other areas that will store food items.
- Regulatory issues: State and county licenses and permits, equipment (i.e. fume hood) certifications, complying with any new Food and Drug Administration standards, and any regulations concerning serving the public and patient populations from out of specific food preparation areas (i.e. retail vs tray line).
- Policies and procedures (P&Ps) and Operating Plan: Current P&Ps updated with new locations and names, new P&Ps created and approved for new processes, equipment, or systems.
- Orientation to the new space and Training: Staff will need training before and after the licensing visit to ensure they can safely and efficiently demonstrate the operation of all new equipment and systems. Staff should be knowledgeable about any new regulations, policies, paths of travel, and workflow prior to any regulatory visit with any relevant documentation ready and easily accessible by management.
– Lynn Aguilera, RN, MSNEd, Senior Project Manager and Director of Transition Planning, HTS, Inc., LAguilera@consulthts.com; Christian Aguilera, Project Support, Transition Planning, HTS, Inc.; Jeff Agner, Senior Project Manager and Director of Transition Planning, HTS, Inc., JAgner@consulthts.com
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