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Independent living is important to care home residents, but concerns over safety, security and hygiene can be restrictive, especially when it comes to promoting independence in the kitchen

The kitchen can, after all, be a dangerous place, especially if residents of varying abilities are the using the space at the same time, alongside staff or caterers. Electrical appliances, hot water, spills and hazardous substances can all be a cause for concern, but there are ways to minimise risks in the kitchen, helping your residents gain their independence while still conforming to the Care Quality Commission’s high standards.

We take a look at a few of the key points in the CQC’s Premises and Equipment regulations, and see how a semi-commercial kitchen could help your care home to comply.

Premises and Equipment: What does the CQC say?
“All premises and equipment used by the service provider must be clean, secure and suitable for the purpose for which they are being used. They must be properly used, properly maintained, and appropriately located.

“The registered person (ie., the care home supervisor) must, in relation to such premises and equipment, maintain standards of hygiene appropriate for the purposes for which they are being used.”

Overcoming obstacles
When it comes to promoting independence in the kitchen, the above regulations can be problematic, but they are not impossible to overcome. A kitchen that is purpose-built for use by both staff and residents (under supervision) can take these points into account to create a space that is loosely divided into ‘staff’ and ‘supervised residential’ sections.

However, another option that can put less strain on your catering kitchen (and your team) is to create a satellite kitchen in your communal area or a separate room. You can find out more about Steelplan’s satellite kitchens here.

Whether it’s a satellite kitchen or shared kitchen space, reducing risk and maintaining a high level of security, safety and hygiene is crucial. Here are four ways that a Steelplan Kitchen can help:

Keeping cleaning supplies, medicines and allergens out of reach can be difficult if your kitchen is open to residents. Even with supervision, making sure that harmful substances are kept secure is essential to maintain a safe environment. At Steelplan Kitchens, our COSHH cupboards feature locks that are built into the steel frame of the kitchen, for maximum control over storage.

A semi-commercial kitchen may look friendlier and less austere than a fully commercial kitchen, but it’s just as hygienic. A durable steel framework won’t harbour the same bacteria and moisture that a domestic MDF model will, making it much easier to clean up spills and stains, and keep the kitchen free of germs.

A care home kitchen tends to be a hub of activity, receiving more than its fair share of wear and tear. With its powder coated steel shell, a Steelplan Kitchen will far exceed the life expectancy of a standard domestic wooden or MDF kitchen.

With over 30 years’ experience installing kitchens in care homes, a Steelplan Kitchen consultant can advise on an appropriate layout for your kitchen or satellite space, taking into account accessibility, security and convenience. To find out about our free kitchen consultations for care homes, call us on 0844 809 9186.

Please note that all of the above is intended as informal tips and not legal advice. Should you need formal advice on your care home kitchen, please contact the Care Quality Commission.

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