Single National Standard to Determine the Ease of Opening and Safety of Comparable Food Products [Interview][Transcript]

John_Boland_IHHC_Packaging_Accessibility_DatabaseGuest: John Boland
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Having trained in Dublin, Ireland and worked in hospitality all of his working life, John is General Manager of Hospitality Services with LHI Retirement Services. LHI is the largest Lutheran Aged Care Organisation in Australia looking after 1,000 residents across two villages. In our care we look after independent living residents in our villages as well as 240 high dependency residents in our residential care facilities. one of South Australia`s leading aged care providers. With 1000 clients and over 500 staff at LHI, John has a good understanding of the world of aged and acute care and has a passion for improving the dining experience for older people. John is the National President and the Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality in HealthCare Ltd (IHHC). This is a voluntary role and he bases his IHHC work from his office in Adelaide with the support of his employer LHI and our CEO Mr. Tim Gray.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, returning guest John Boland the National President of the Institute of Hospitality in HealthCare joins us to share their exciting partnership with HealthShare NSW and Arthritis Australia. They have joined forces to launch a new section on the IHHC website which allows food service managers nationally to determine if food packaging is easy or hard to open. The not-for-profit Institute of Hospitality in HealthCare -devoted to professionalism and excellence in hospitality within healthcare – will share the Food Packaging Accessibility Ratings for nearly 150 products with IHHC members through the IHHC password protected website. The Packaging Accessibility Rating (Rating) provides a single national standard for determining the ease of opening and safety of comparable food products. The higher the Rating the better the outcome for the patient/consumer.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. Today my guest is John Boland. And John joins us from Adelaide in Australia, where he is the General Manager of Hospitality Services of LHI Retirement Services. But we’re actually going to talk to him today in his other capacity as National President of the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare – the IHHC. John welcome to Health Professional Radio.

John Boland: Thank you Wayne.

W: Now John I should say welcome back because we’ve spoken to you before in your capacity as General Manager of Hospitality Services with LHI. But I understand the IHHC has launched a new website and a partnership?

J: Yes, I guess I was proud about our website and we have actually got involved with HealthShare New South Wales and Arthritis Australia. And it’s actually a project we’ve worked with joined forces with those organizations. And it’s a benefit that we feel will add valued through our membership so it’s actually some information that we placed on our existing website.

W: Now I understand as a result of that partnership and website, you’ve been doing some work in the food packaging?

J: Yes, I guess the whole idea of information sharing came about from the HealthShare New South Wales and Arthritis Australia where they’ve recognized our membership group. A major purchaser here in Australia of products for our aged care organization and for our hospitals. And then our managers have actually…and I guess the control to make decisions in regards to products that they purchase. So I guess the idea was really focus approach I guess the IHHC with the idea that they want to get the word out to consumers, that these types of products was available for managers to make informed decisions around packaging. The project itself is the brain child of HealthShare New South Wales and Arthritis Australia. So I guess the IHHC coming into the picture is really to give exposure to the packaging accessibility rating to members and then obviously will then flow on to members on decision to the products they purchase.

W: Now John is the ease with which you can open food packaging a nutritional problem for the aged? I know I’m not quite in the aged care category yet but I know some of it is annoying.

J: Uh huh.

W: Is there actually a nutritional impact in this?

J: Yeah look, we do believe so. And I mean I guess for yourself and myself who probably didn’t quite reach that aged bracket yet and just for the common products you sometimes purchase you get them in this pretty heavy plastic and packaging that sometimes… actually open these packages. And there can be damage to people who sometimes try to use their teeth to open things. And if you’re using a Stanley knife or a knife, it slips and causes injuries. So I guess that’s just for everybody out there as a general product. But then in regards to our food areas and especially our guests in the hospital situation where you do have a tray service situation to the various wards. And I guess there’s a lot of emphasis on our food safety programs that we need to ensure that the food that we’re serving our patient unless it is safe. And a lot of portion controlled products do come into the picture. And I guess if you’ve got an elderly person or a person with crutches or it could be somebody with a broken arm, and it can be quite difficult to open a package at times. So that can become, there’s some food packages that causes extreme difficulty to manage in the opening of our products. And I guess what we have seen over the years is there on the retirement of life from the wards and you can actually see about the food life that… people are actually not able to open the packages so they give up and then just leave it. In other words, if you can’t open the package, you’re not gonna eat it.

W: Yeah.

J: So I guess there, yeah look I’m mean there is certainly benefits over that thing I guess to the use of the packaging system and because if we’ll sort of create … use easy to open packages for elderly people and more frail people and with people with some other certain conditions that might have difficulty otherwise.

W: And if your patient or residents, you don’t always have a Stanley knife with you. It’s not one of the things you typically have at hand.

J: (laugh) Absolutely. No, you’re perfectly right.

W: I guess that some of our listeners may not be members of the IHHC, but I guess the website is the best place for them to get in touch. That’s and there you can find information about the HealthShare packaging program. And you can also get in touch with John Boland, our guest today who will be able to provide you with information about what the institute does and what programs they’ve got in place. My guest today John Boland, thank you for making yourself available today. I know it’s always in imposition when someone rings you up and wants to do an interview. So thank you for your time today.

J: Wayne, thank you. We very pretty much appreciate the opportunity to be able to speak to your listeners and share with them as well some of the good work that the IHHC is doing out there. And this is just one aspect of that, and one of the aspects and benefits that we see for our members. And for us, we don’t endorse products, or our members are required to purchase, but actually just gives them some information that they’ll be able to make that own decision in regards to an easier opening package … The end of the day it’s the benefits for our patient and for our residents. So I do appreciate the opportunity, thank you.

W: If you’ve missed the conversation with John Boland. John is the General Manager Hospitality Services at LHI Retirement Services. And also the National President of the Institute of Hospitality and Healthcare. And we’ve been talking today about the food packaging accessibility ratings that the IHHC has now put on its website, in conjunction with HealthShare New South Wales and Arthritis Australia. If you’ve got an interest in food packaging, then head off to their website at or if you’d like to hear the interview again or read the transcript, that’s available on our website at This is Health Professional Radio, and you’re listening to Wayne Bucklar.

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