The Big Idea 2013: Trayless Patient Service

System uses carts to deliver on-demand service for patients.

Published in FSD Update

Renato de Leon
Food Service Director
Winchester Nursing Center
Winchester, Mass.

We have a trayless system. In a nursing system you normally do trays and then you send them out on trucks and the nurses pass them out. With the economy the way it is, I was looking to find a different way to save money. On a tray you would usually get the food of the day, which is what we thought the resident would want. So we started a trayless system. We bought some carts that we fill up with food and we go room to room and we ask the residents what they would like. I put some metal inserts into the carts and put in pizza stones that have been warmed in the oven. The stones keep the food warm in the cart.

Residents have the main meal and the alternate meal. In addition, I offer all kinds of sandwiches on a daily basis because that’s sometimes all they want. I have pizza and a cottage cheese and fruit plate. We also have pasta and sauce. They have a pretty big range of items to choose from.

On our end, we are able to save money and have less waste, and people are eating. We don’t have to use as many supplements. We were at the average of weight loss between 13% and 16%. Right now I’ve been able to take it down to 2% or 3%. With this system the residents have been able to get their voice back because now they have an option. I restructured staff and I’m now working with one less FTE. I’ve been able to save 9% on my budget since starting the trayless program. Nursing has a lot more time as well now that they don’t have to pass out trays. I’m able to serve 145 residents in 45 minutes.

The staff has more interaction with residents and they’ve gotten to know the residents better. Before, we knew them by a name on a piece of paper.  

Residents are no longer served meals on trays. Instead meals are delivered by carts and residents have more options from which to select. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Two chefs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., are trying to help solve the Mars food dilemma, myfoxspokane.com reports .

Just outside the school’s cafeteria, Executive Chef Timothy Grayson and his partner, Christine Logan-Travis, are trying their hand at growing tomatoes, oregano, basil and other plants in Martian Regolith Soil, the closest soil on Earth to that found on the fourth planet from the sun.

All of the plants in the Mars-inspired garden are intended for human consumption.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to...

Industry News & Opinion

Access to fresh produce just got easier for students at the University of Virginia.

The Charlottesville, Va., university’s dining service has partnered with Greens to Grounds , a student-run nonprofit organization that delivers locally grown produce to students. Though students could previously purchase Greens to Grounds produce, they can now use a portion of their meal plans to do so, thecavalier.com reports .

Students can choose between a snack box or produce box, the ingredients in which usually require no cooking, and can place their orders online. The base boxes cost...

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

FSD Resources