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From Kitchen To Patient - Hot Meals Served On Meal Delivery Carts

Mar 30, 2008
One of the most important roles fulfilled by a medical facility's kitchen remains unseen by most visitors. This is the task of filling the meal delivery carts and bringing food to the patients staying in the hospital. Unlike the food service in the cafeteria, there are certain considerations which must be taken when preparing meals for patients, among these ensuring the proper dietary restrictions, amounts, and time given are strictly followed. An error in any of these could be detrimental to the patient's recovery either delaying it or in the most dire of cases reversing it. Not only are the physician's orders concerning meals important, but the meal delivery carts must be relied upon to quickly and efficiently deliver food at a constant temperature to ensure the safety of those they feed.

The longevity of the meal delivery carts will determine how wise an investment they were. In many cases, by purchasing carts which have parts or pieces which fail after a few months, the entire cart is traded in. This is a costly waste, and it is a practice frowned upon by those who oversee the food service budgets. Stability and durability will contribute to the long life of the cart, and knowing the right assets to look for will ensure that you will not have to make needless replacements in the near future.

Meal delivery carts should be made from stainless steel with reinforced corners and or edges. Stainless steel will not rust, even if it is moved from a hot kitchen into a walk-in freezer and back. Additionally, stainless steel is durable and will last throughout years of use and abuse. The non-porous characteristic of the surface enables it to be quickly and easily cleaned and sterilized. For a cart that is destined for the patient's wards sterilization is vital for the safety of those there who might be susceptible to illnesses from bacteria which might be clinging to an unsterilized surface.

The purpose of a meal delivery cart is to ferry food from the kitchen to the patients. These carts must have a reliable temperature control on them which will keep hot food hot and cold food cold. If the heating or cooling system of the cart fails, the temperature of the food could quickly reach the "danger zone". This is anywhere between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In this range, bacteria in the food begin to multiply, which could easily trigger a potentially fatal bout of food poisoning in an already weak patient. The very lives of the patients will depend upon the reliability of the meal delivery carts to control the internal temperature no matter how many times the door is opened and closed.

High quality carts feature side to side air flow. This reduces the amount of air that leaks out when the door is opened. There should also be an easy to read thermometer on the outside to verify the internal warming of the meal delivery cart. In order to lessen the time which the doors are opened, the shelves should allow for quick and easy removal of trays. These shelves also need to be able to be removed for cleaning and service. A magnetic gasket along the perimeter of the door will enable the door to have an air-tight seal. These features should not only be looked for but demanded of any meal delivery carts you purchase. Not only will you be able to trust their longevity, but the patients will be able to trust that they are guaranteed meals that are safe and tasty.
About the Author
To learn more visit our medical & hospital equipment section section or read more about use of meal delivery carts.
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