Halton Healthcare’s Innovative ‘Tray in Motion’ Earns Prestigious Recognition


Halton Healthcare’s groundbreaking Tray in Motion – Positive Patient Identification with Meal Tray Delivery system has been acknowledged as a Leading Practice by the Health Standards Organization, signifying a significant milestone in healthcare innovation.

Tray in Motion is an automated solution designed to streamline meal distribution within hospital settings while incorporating positive patient identification to ensure the highest standard of healthcare and reduce patient tray delivery errors. This pioneering practice not only enhances patient safety but also plays a crucial role in promoting good hospital nutrition, contributing to patients’ overall well-being and recovery.

Explaining the importance of this system, Marianne Katusin, Director of Support Services, emphasizes, “From a patient safety and quality perspective, meals must be prepared very carefully according to each individual’s needs. This includes dietary restrictions, the texture of food, and food allergies. Some patients have diabetes; others may be on a low-salt diet or have swallowing issues. In our busy hospital, we need to provide an efficient and timely food distribution system that ensures each patient gets the right meal to avoid adverse food reactions.”

The process begins when a patient’s meal order is received, and a meal ticket is generated, incorporating unique barcode information linked to the patient’s records, along with a wristband containing essential information such as the patient’s name, birthdate and dietary restrictions or allergies. Using this data, a customized food tray is assembled with instructions communicated through the automated Tray in Motion system.

When the meal is ready for delivery, a member of the food service team scans the barcode on the tray and matches it with the patient’s wristband using an iPad. This dual verification process ensures that the proper meal, tailored to the patient’s specific dietary needs, is delivered to the correct recipient.

Alexandra McCord, Manager of Food Services at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, highlights another advantage of the system, stating, “In addition to allowing us to track meal trays from the meal ticket creation stage to delivery and monitor the process in real-time, this system also allows us to better respond to last-minute changes from the time of assembly to delivery. If need be, we can locate a tray in seconds.”

The system’s final step involves an additional positive patient identification verification. If the scan displays a green checkmark, signifying that everything is in order, the food service team member verbally confirms the patient’s name before presenting the meal. If a red ‘x’ appears, the scanner alerts the staff that there might be an issue. This could be due to a change in the order or the intended patient being discharged or relocated. In such instances, healthcare teams investigate and make necessary modifications.

Marianne Katusin concludes, “Our Tray in Motion – Positive Patient Identification with Meal Tray Delivery Program has improved our food distribution system across our hospitals and enhanced patient safety. We are delighted to have this program recognized as a leading practice by the Health Standards Organization.”

As an affiliate of Accreditation Canada, the Health Standards Organization defines a Leading Practice as an innovative, patient-centered, evidence-informed practice that has demonstrated success and positive changes related to safe and reliable care.

Muhammad Aamir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter, Milton Reporter


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