April 01, 2009 | | Comments 2
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National refrigerator temperature standard? Nope

There is no specific, nationally recognized or enforced requirement to monitor the temperature of refrigerators. There are some state and local restrictions, but that’s all.

The requirement is that each organization will appropriately manage the temperature of all applicable food/medication storage devices, period, end of story.

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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  1. Good to know about the temperature control. What can you tell me about cleaning refrigerators that are used to stock nourishment for patients? Is it generally the responsibility of Nutrition Services to clean on a regular basis?

  2. Steve MacArthur

    Hi Mary,

    I don’t know that I would go so far as to characterize the role of Nutrition Services in this process as generally applicable; my experience has been (and this is a very rough estimate) that the responsibility lies with Nutrition about 45% of the time, Environmental Services 40% of the time, and floor staff the remaining 15%. Ultimately it depends on which means results in the most effective management of the fridges. Sometimes it works to have EVS monitor it because there’s ususally a dedicated person assigned to the floor so you have the same person pretty much all the time, where with Nutrition services, it’s usually whoever does the par stocks, which isn’t always consistent. I suppose responsibility is frequently most important as a function of when things aren’t working well, but that’s pretty much par for the course with these point of service responsibilities.
    Hope this helps – Steve Mac.

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