When the coronavirus pandemic hit this country, hospitals quickly became the front line. Hospital dining programs had to quickly transition to serving patients sick with the virus, but found ways to do so in safe ways for their employees. Many pivoted away from their traditional room service models and instead provided meals at set times for nurses to deliver to COVID-positive patients to reduce the number of people with exposure and to cut down on PPE, which was difficult to purchase early in the pandemic.
But it wasn’t just patients that healthcare foodservice programs were faced with. They continued to serve the doctors and nurses who were so selflessly serving the community. Dining directors quickly realized that it wasn’t a hot entrée or cup of coffee that would make the biggest impact on those healthcare workers. Instead, it was toilet paper and cleaning supplies and bulk meals. These micro markets quickly popped up on hospital grounds, offering a quick and easy way for hospital workers to pick up items without having to stop at grocery stores on the way home from work.
The year’s top stories also saw salad-making robots at the Mayo Clinic, 41 healthcare dining workers who are Foodservice Heroes, tips to reopen your café after the spring shutdowns and real-time feedback on hospital patient meal service (obviously, a pre-COVID initiative).
Here are the 10 biggest stories of the year.