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FMH celebrates Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week

Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week™ 2017 was celebrated October 1-7, 2017 at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. This year’s theme was “Healthcare Foodservice Workers: An Essential Ingredient in Healthcare.” This special week was set aside to honor healthcare food and nutrition professionals.

“A hospital isn’t the first place people think about to grab breakfast, lunch or dinner; even though, many in the community do enjoy the hospital cafeteria. However, we have several people from the community who eat here daily, and often rely on us for all three meals. Over time, I believe that Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Cafeteria has proven our food to be really good. Gone are the days of regular hospital meals, and in comes the era of healthy and delicious meals for staff and visitors, and the same for patients based on each patient’s specific requirements,” stated April Greifzu, Director of Nutrition Services at Fairfield Memorial Hospital.

The FMH Food Service Workers prepare and deliver trays to many patients each day, and also serve meals to the staff and public. In addition, there are often special functions the team prepares meals and snacks for. This is in addition to the nutritious meals they supply Frontier Perks Coffeehouse to ensure the students and faculty members have quick and easy access to good meals throughout the week.

“We wished to take time to recognize the team who demonstrates great care in their work and understand the importance nutrition has on the healing of our patients. We honor and respect these professionals who serve in this integral role in helping employees, patients, visitors, and community members stay well-nourished and healthy,” stated Katherine Bunting-Williams, Ph.D., FMH CEO.

When mealtime rolls around, the hospital food service worker begins by setting out food for each patient. Mind you, many of the early shift staff members begin their day around 4:30 a.m. to ensure food is ready by the 6 a.m. breakfast time, and then the evening shift finish their day at 9 p.m.

It’s like a game of musical chairs, only with trays. Each patient has a special menu, according to what special diet ordered by their medical doctor, that they get to order from. The FMH Food Service Workers deliver trays to patients and, of course, help set up the cafeteria for visiting friends and family members. It isn’t always simple to stay ahead of the crowd and keep utensils and plates stocked on the favorite meal days. FMH serves approximately 400 meals on average daily beginning at 6 a.m. and closing down the tray-line for the day at 7:30 p.m. With meal prep time starting during early morning hours to the late night clean-up, it is nearly a 24 hour operation because the nursing supervisors have access to the kitchen if there is a need during the late night hours.

“After each mealtime is over, there is the cleanup of the plates, silverware and trays from the cafeteria, trays are collected from patients, and the delivery of any extra food, such as desserts, a patient has requested. Then we repeat it all over again. It is truly a labor of love for us,” stated April.

“Our team focuses greatly on quality and ensures that each patient receives a safe and healthy diet. A patient with a peanut allergy certainly doesn’t need a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, so their focus on the smallest important details like this is what makes their work so valuable,” she added.

Pictured are some of the Nutrition Service Crew members, Brock Lewis, Seth Headlee, Jody Wood, Alyse Barnfield, Lisa Scarbrough, April Greifzu, and Lisa Cannon, who were recognized this week during Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week.