Changes in the way that meals are being delivered to Meals on Wheels (MOW) clients in St Arnaud have come into effect, increasing both food safety and flexibility in the service.
Freshly cooked meals will now be delivered in chilled form, allowing the client a great deal of flexibility when it comes to when they eat their meal and thus lowering the risk of excessive reheating.
For example, the client may like to have their soup and make a sandwich for lunch, and then keep their main course for dinner.
Food safety was also a high priority for the changes, as clients would on occasion need to reheat their meal upon delivery, due to factors such as delay of delivery, being last on the delivery list, or simply choosing to have the meal at dinner.
Person-centered care was an important factor behind the decision, which supports the client to heat their meal whenever they would like to eat, as well as the ability to make their meal ‘their own’ by being able to plate it using their own crockery.
The changes also enable MOW volunteers to spend more time with those receiving meals, given there’s now no need to rush to try and deliver a load of hot meals in a short period of time.
The process from cooked to chilled requires monitored food safety processes which are a part of East Wimmera Health Service’s (EWHS) Food Safety Program.
Kara Kara Ward Councillor, Merrilee Reid said, “The collaborative decision between East Wimmera Health Service and council to change how the food was delivered will help alleviate some safety concerns including excessive reheating.”
“All clients were briefed on the reasoning and benefits behind the change, and were also able to voice any questions or concerns that they had.”
“The meals themselves will now be easier to handle with no risk of burning or loss of temperature, and no loss to the presentation or consistency of the food due to the delay between cooking, delivering and eating that was happening on occasion beforehand.”
Both MOW clients and volunteers have provided positive feedback since the changes have come into effect.