Day 1 on the Dirty Utility Room
“Let’s seize the golden opportunity of our time!”
On the first day of the online hospital and healthcare conference on 22 June hosted by hygiene specialist Meiko, industry experts and architects from the healthcare sector discussed how intelligent planning assures hygiene in existing and future hospitals and care homes.
High demand on hygienic solutions worldwide
Meiko kicked off the conference with industry led talks. The Head of Technical Sales Department for Professional Cleaning and Disinfection Technology, Thomas Meier, explained available support from Meiko within the planning process. He pointed out that the dirty utility room must be a focal point when planning a ward instead of being treated as a subordinate matter. A risen awareness for hygienic solutions and a greater demand for their implementation was acknowledged by all parties worldwide, which has been reflected in an increase in Meiko projects to provide clean solutions for hospitals over the last 18 months.
Advantages of reusable care utensils in Healthcare
Disposable options of care utensils cause problems in usability, safety and sustainability. The great disadvantage of not being able to measure volumes with disposable care utensils requires healthcare staff to refill potentially contaminated liquids into other containers, carrying a high risk of contamination with pathogens. Manufacturing as well as distribution of disposable products requires much energy and there are also issues with blocking public sewage systems. Operators must spend high costs on processing and maintaining their plants.
Latest generation of disinfectors: the Meiko TopLine with assistant system
After talking about the minimum requirements of a utility room Joshua Huber from Product Management introduced the latest generation of disinfectors, the new bedpan washer TopLine with assistant system, made by Meiko. This new pearl in Meiko’s care collection has load detection, automatic door opening and closing, optimised cleaning system and wash pressure, with an adjustable A0 value that can be increased up to 12,000. This product will be presented at the MEDICA this Autumn and can be experienced in the digital product world meiko-experiencezone.com.
Flexible and affordable
In the second half of the care convention the participants of the round table focused on the question "What standards will we use when we plan the hospitals and care homes of the future?" Host Ben Giese discussed this and other questions with:
- Debbie Harris, Managing Director & Founder, Autumna UK
- Thomas Meier, MEIKO HQ Germany
- wish for all successful and safe life.
- Izzideen Alzughair, Head of Planning and Consultance Department, Hijaz Medical Supplies Trading LLC, UAE
- Magnus Nickl, Nickl & Partner Architekten AG
- Dr. med. Hartwig Jaeger, Archimeda GmbH
Healthcare facilities and hospitals of the future must be highly flexible. Single bedrooms are becoming more and more popular. 50% single bedrooms, or even better 100%, would help hospitals and care homes to more successfully manage their facility with regard to infection control and cross contamination. Furthermore, Dr. Jaeger is convinced that more beds in emergency departments, a greater number of isolation rooms and air filtering systems are key when planning new or retrofitting existing facilities.
Magnus Nickel sees a great ecological and financial advantage in modular construction. The demand for it is rising not only in Europe but also in Northern Asia especially China where he has realised various projects.
“A golden opportunity”
All experts agreed that due to the Covid 19 pandemic the awareness of the importance of having well-functioning hygienic solutions has risen in the political as well as in the public sphere. Harris acknowledges a great willingness of investing more money in care homes by the British government. Even in the Middle East things are changing. Budgets for healthcare facilities are rising and the use of disposable items is declining, recognises Izzideen Alzughair. Dr. Jaeger and Nickel fear that once the pandemic will vanish the memory of it will do, as well as the pressure on politics. Dr. Jaeger found this a shame as beyond the Coronavirus (for which we now have a vaccine), there remains multi resistant bacteria and the fatality rate of such an infection is 50%. Politics should act on recommendations of scientists, not upon tabloids’ headlines and we need to use the public pressure now to change for a better future - it is a “golden opportunity” for all.
- New TopLine bedpan washer disinfector: www.meiko.info/pearl
- Platform for a digital product experience from Meiko: www.meiko-experiencezone.com
Day 2 on Planning the Kitchen Area
“Corona escalated catering changes and trends, which are now the new normal”
The second day of the Meiko Care Convention proved very successful with industry led talks and a comprehensive round table discussion with international experts providing an insightful 90 minute programme on the topic of hygiene and process safety in the kitchen area.
How to improve hygiene with smart processes in a kitchen?
Meiko addressed this question with a thirty minute visual presentation between Mick Jary, Specification Manager, Hannes Braun Head of International Sales at Meiko Green and Mario Manz, HQ. It highlighted that having a professional planning procedure involving all relevant stakeholders: clients, staff, consultants, planners and industry partners is a key element to enable a hygienic, ergonomic and sustainable safe and comfortable workspace.
Key topics included the hygiene loop and avoidance of cross contamination, working with individual requirements, peak flows, staffing requirements and waste and recycling processes in any kitchen environment.
Structural change in catering in care settings. What's next?
The round table discussion focused on the structural change in catering in care settings and on the question: What measures could be taken when designing future hospitals?
The round table featured:
• Philip Shelley, Senior Operational and Policy Manager, NHS England & Improvement, UK
• Duncan Hepburn, Design Consultant at Hepburn Associates
• Hanni Rützler, Food Trend Expert at futurefoodstudio in Germany
• Paul Anderson, Managing Director at Meiko UK
The relevance of quality food, fresh produce and locally sourced products has risen among consumers worldwide. Hanni Rützler thinks the pandemic has highlighted the need for a more holistic approach to healthy eating, quality produce and sustainability within the care environment.
Digitalisation to master the challenges
During the last 18 months, kitchen operations had to change dramatically, accomplishing more with less staff, adapting to social distancing requirements and considering staff wellbeing throughout the pandemic.
Philip Shelley highlighted that digital systems played an important role within this time, enabling more control, speed and flexibility in food ordering, however there is still lots of work to be done in ensuring food service and quality to be at the forefront of a care plan, alongside the need to reduce/re-distribute food waste within each care setting.
Multi-centre cooking units and batch cooking were key elements during this period, with a focus on enhancing the quality and consistency of food preparation and giving chefs and teams the chance to further develop their skills.
Technology has become common practice, with digital devices such as mobile phones enabling quick recording and scanning for feedback or with online virtual meetings enabling discussions to take place more timely. This has helped in all aspects and especially with design/consultation of project planning says Duncan Hepburn.
Dining culture for patients
What we eat and the place where we consume our meals is becoming more and more important, alongside the variety of individual food requirements. The way to drive this forward is a two-way communication between suppliers/production and consumers i.e. patients/staff, in order to maximise the dining experience and change the perception of the dining culture. Hanni Rutzler re-iterated that we need to set the bar as high as possible when it comes to finding the best and safest way of serving food in healthcare institutions.
Measures to help maintain hygiene will remain in place for quite some time: masks will still be worn, pre-packed food will continue and the dining choices will have to evolve in consideration of the changes in service.
Duncan Hepburn thinks new designs must be rational and allow a high level of flexibility. When setting up new kitchens a better segregation between food preparing and storage must be assured in order to maximise the space and hygienic standards.
Sustainability becomes an important part of a healthy lifestyle
“Everything we do is linked to the carbon agenda right now.” Philip Shelley argues that collaborative decision-making is key including chefs, kitchen porters, ward planners and must take into account the day to day procedures within a care setting.
Food labelling and nutritional care will be increasingly important, enabling people to understand what exactly they eat and where the products were produced, alongside a welcoming food layout for the most impactful first impression. It must inspire people to eat nutritional and healthy food. Educational programmes during hospitalisation or cook boxes delivered to patients’ homes after the release from hospital are two possible ways to support them in a sustainable and healthy diet in the future.
The pandemic escalated new trends that will become the new normal and hygiene, digitalisation and sustainability are amongst them.