University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences

When patients visit the medical center for care, food service plays an important role in their experience. They expect to receive fresh, great-tasting food in a timely fashion. For that reason the University of Chicago Medicine will launch the temporary kitchen complex in April while it continues to expand the patient food service kitchen located in the Center for Care and Discovery (CCD).

Comprised of four modular units, the temporary kitchen complex will be stationed between the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) and CCD. The complex will be almost identical to the current kitchen. It will be in operation until November.

To prepare for the opening of the temporary kitchen complex, Dining Services and the Operational Excellence department completed a series of 5S events, a systematic and methodical LEAN-approach that allows teams to organize their workplace in the most efficient manner.

“The 5S exercises were a huge success in the temporary kitchen complex,” said MaryPat Severns, Executive Director of dining services. “With the assistance of the CCD kitchen dining services team, we confirmed the kitchen design, made enhancements that will shave time on the delivery of a patient’s tray and aligned work flows to match our new location.”

The complex will not require additional staffing. More than 80 staff members who serve the CCD kitchen will transition to the complex. They will be trained on the equipment and slight changes to work flows and safety in the new environment.  

“Challenges to operating the temporary kitchen complex will be minimal,” Severns continued. "New travel routes to patient floors have been timed and tested. The team should maintain the 45- to 60- minute food delivery schedule," Severns said.

The space contains a smaller cooler and freezer. However, UChicago Medicine vendors will deliver more frequently to accommodate the change. A roof has also been added to keep out weather elements and manage temperature control within the structure.  

Construction is underway on the expanded patient food service kitchen in the CCD.  The new kitchen will more than double in size – from 5,500 square-feet to 12,200 square-feet-- providing dining services for more than 200 inpatient beds that will be shifted from the Bernard R. Mitchell Hospital to the CCD later in the year.

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