Improved Food and Nutrition Services

The Challenge

This company is the governing commercial body of a number of Ontario-based hospitals. One of these hospitals was the focus of a Lean Green Belt project.

Prior to the Green Belt project, all food-related tasks took place at a centralized location within the hospital. After, however, food services staff were working independently throughout the inpatient units and no longer in a central kitchen. In order to assist with the change, management strategies were planned to support the development of their new roles, job descriptions, and work routines.

The Solution

The aim of the project was to create a seamless transition of work roles and procedures to a new environment. Areas that needed improvement were the timeliness of the meal assembly process, the accuracy of tray assembly, motion waste, workstation layout, food storage procedures, and design of tray tickets.

The following activities were carried out:

  • The room service pod, workstation layout, and staff numbers were adjusted to reflect the decentralized environment
  • Room service assembly, non-room service assembly, dishwashing and room service delivery were assessed and this information was used as a benchmark/improvement framework for the hospital
  • The tray ticket was altered to develop a standard design as the printed order of information regarding tray items and patient name and room number was modified to allow for more efficient assembly
  • A 5S event was conducted around Kanban bins for condiments and other food items such as the sorting and labeling standards
  • Workflow planning and metric assessment were carried out on acute care room service and non-room service, the mental health dining room, and the rehab pantry
  • We identified areas of waste and inefficiency and outlined the human and technical resources required to achieve the desired standards. We measured walking distances to stock nourishment centers, developed a draft work schedule for front-line staff, developed work routines and job descriptions for new roles, and workflow mapping for other units.

The Results

As a result of working with the Leading Edge Group, the organization now has an executable plan to:

  • Improve kitchen workflow
  • Enhance efficiency with meal services provided closer to the patient
  • Adjust patient meal delivery models in line with unique patient care needs
  • Eliminate duplicate processes and wasteful steps
  • Enhance bedside technology availability, with real time meal ordering

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