Vince Felton, the catering manager at Saint Francis Hospice in Essex, tells us how his team has adapted to working during the pandemic, making sure people at the hospice stay safe.
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 the team that we’ve been able to continue delivering our usual high standard of food and drink to patients throughout the pandemic. There’s a particular ethos that we all abide by: we realise that our mums could easily be patients on the ward, and 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 has wanted 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 a patient could be their last meal. Even they only take one bite, we will know it was worth it. We can go home proud, knowing it was a job well done.
Whereas our Orange Cafe was open to everyone before the outbreak, 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We’ve also removed the items that many different people touch like salt and pepper pots which have been replaced by sachets. 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 team members.
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.
For more information visit Saint Francis Hospice