How Saint Francis Hospice caters for patients meals during coronavirus

Vince Felton is the hospice's catering manager. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

Vince Felton is the hospice's catering manager. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Archant

Saint Francis Hospice’s catering manager Vince Felton explains how meals have had to change because of coronavirus

Every member of staff at Saint Francis Hospice has had to adjust amid the Covid-19 outbreak, including myself and my team.

It’s a testament to my team that we’ve been able to continue to deliver our usual high standard of food and drink to our patients through the pandemic.

There’s a particular ethos that everyone in my team abides by. We all realise that our mums could easily be a patient on the ward. What we’d do for our mums, we’d do for our patients.

In my 25 years of working at the hospice, if a patient wants a specific type of food or drink that we haven’t got in stock, then we’ve always sourced it for them.

This has been particularly challenging with social distancing in force, but we’ve still managed to meet every patient’s wish.

We know that whatever we cook for them could be their last meal. Even if a patient only takes one bite, we will know it was worth it. We can go home proud, knowing it was a job well done.

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Whereas our Orange Cafe was open to everyone, including patients and their loved ones, we can now only allow staff for the time being.

We have had to enforce a limited amount of tables — and only one person per table.

China plates and cups, and steel cutlery, have had to make way for disposable alternatives.

Yet we’re still doing our bit to make the world a better place by opting for environmentally friendly wooden knives, forks and spoons.

We’ve also removed the items that many different people touch; sachets have replaced salt and pepper pots.

These have to be dispensed carefully by catering staff, along with paper napkins.

The once self-service salad bar is now behind the counter, and salads are dished up by my team.

As caterers, we’ve always washed our hands frequently, but we’re cleaning them twice as much now.

We’re wearing gloves, face masks and other PPE to keep everyone safe.

There’s also a one-way system in place, alongside the two-metre social distancing rule.

And, of course, there’s the all-important sanitising of tables and chairs.

Thanks to my team being willing to adjust, we’ve managed to stop the spread of the coronavirus to our hospice — and long may that continue.

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