Short on Help? COVID-19 Healthcare Labor Strategies

Find foodservice solutions for your healthcare or senior living community.
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The COVID-19 crisis brings unprecedented conditions for healthcare and senior living organizations. It’s no easy task to adjust staffing needs right now. We asked foodservice operators and industry associations to offer ideas on managing workforce shortages while continuing to provide excellent food and service.

Make menu & operational changes

Reduce. Consider cutting back your menu offerings to a restricted or non-select menu: 

  • Long-term care (LTC) locations can eliminate or reduce options from the “alternate choice” and “always available” menu
  • Continue your room service and open menu concept, but transition to a non-select tray line approach serving meals at set times each day per unit if staffing becomes an issue

Adjust. Shift to convenience foods (heat and serve) vs. scratch:

  • Visit our Coronavirus Action Resources page under “Resources” in Gordon Experience (login required) or ask your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative for access to a planned two-week convenience/temporary menu intended for crisis (low labor) situations
    • The menu follows the MyPlate meal pattern guidelines to comply with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) regulation F-Tag 803 
    • Diets available: Regular, Puréed and Mechanical Soft  

Cancel. Eliminate or reduce catered events unless they are essential to your business

Outsource. Local organizations with licensed kitchens and experienced staff, such as restaurants, caterers and hotels may be able to cook for you:

  • Provide standardized recipes to help their staff prepare the food
  • Have them deliver the prepared food to your organization

Recruiting and managing the help you need

Filling vacancies with qualified people is tricky in the best of times, so it pays to be resourceful with hiring and staffing:

  • Reach out to area restaurants and hotels for potentially sharing their labor pool
  • Hold video interviews with potential team members
  • Onboard quickly with an abbreviated or online orientation
  • Change to 12-hour shifts, fewer days per week
  • Consider scheduling your team in specific groups to limit the employee contact. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, you limit worker exposure

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