As the care industry’s leading commercial partner for almost 40 years, we’ve gained unique insights into how care homes operate, and so we understand better than most how to help your kitchen and catering areas work more efficiently. If you want to spend more time looking after your residents than you do looking after your washing up, here’s a ‘tick list’ to keep handy when looking for a new dishwasher.

5 things to look for when choosing a dishwasher for your care home

1. Robust commercial equipment

It goes without saying that you need to process your loads at much faster speeds than a domestic appliance can manage, and also need the reassurance of equipment that is built to last. It’s therefore vital that you choose robust, easy-to-use commercial dishwashers, glasswashers and utensil & pot washers that can get through hundreds of items quickly, whilst washing them thoroughly and hygienically. Low water consumption, energy-efficiency, simple controls and reliability are all hallmarks of JLA’s dishwasher range, and you can benefit from all of these things for no capital outlay as part of Total Care. Importantly, commercial machines are significantly cheaper to run than domestic machines due to water usage, efficiency and cycle times with tangible cost savings for any care home currently using domestics.

It’s also worth pointing out that domestic machines being used for business operations will not be covered by their warranties – leaving you exposed to cost and inconvenience if something goes wrong.

2. Infection prevention

Preventing cross-infection is of course paramount in nursing and residential environments. Over the years, JLA has evolved products to give you all the features you need to combat the threat of MRSA and other common infections, while also giving you the reassurance of high wash quality that doesn’t require hour-long cycles to achieve. As a result, its tank dishwashers offer thermal disinfection and germicidal UV lamp disinfection programme options for Department of Health guideline compliance, while its freshwater dishwashers offer hygienic cycle times from just 11 minutes to help you improve housekeeping efficiency and kitchen hygiene.

Critically, if washing by hand (which still a lot of homes do) it is very difficult to prove that all items are being washed at the correct temperatures required to meet health and safety guide lines.

3. Tabling

Planning and designing a catering space can be daunting, and for the best results you’ll need expert advice as well as practical assistance. With JLA, you get both as standard. They’ll match your needs with the correct ‘before and after’ tabling for holding plates and cutlery, make sure you know all the possibilities offered by our tailor-made accessories, and leave you with a carefully thought-out, personalised production line. With market-leading products backed up by years of installation and building experience, its solutions allow you to scrap and rinse in a single area to save time, cut out the risk of re-contaminating items stored at the ‘clean’ side of your machine and remove the need to carry baskets across your kitchen after a wash.

No two homes are ever the same in terms of the dishwashing capacity they need, which is why, in addition to under counter tank and freshwater machines, JLA have also developed a range of passthrough machines that can cope effortlessly with up to 1260 plates an hour. Developed for the larger sites, solutions include corner installation tables and fittings, which will ensure you have the solution you need regardless of your kitchen layout.

4. WRAS compliance

The challenges you face when it comes to compliance as well as day-to-day practicality are many and varied. JLA’s experts will ensure you meet your obligations with the minimum of fuss, and can offer a full range of high performance dishwashers that are WRAS approved as standard.

5. Detergents

In a commercial care environment you need detergents that enhance your machine performance and give you the best possible results. Following care-focused research, JLA’s own professional detergents will do just that, while auto-dosing means you can be sure that the right amount of chemical is used every time you wash.

Browse our dishwashers

Jimmy O’Keefe and his wife Helen own and run the Borris Lodge Nursing Home in Co. Carlow. In a recent interview with JLA, Jimmy explained why OTEX is key to maintaining the highest levels of hygiene.

JLA: Why did you choose JLA?

Jimmy: I had completed some research, and was interested and intrigued with the OTEX and the ozone process. The scientific articles made sense to me and the process was soundly based on scientific data.

JLA: Did you have any on-premise laundry equipment previously?

Jimmy: We did have laundry equipment on-site but it was of domestic, semi-commercial character. We only processed residents’ personal laundry, sheets and towels – other linen was supplied by an outside contractor. At the time we had 32 beds and this outsourcing was costing us around €15,000 per annum.

JLA: Why did you opt for OTEX machines in particular?

Jimmy: We increased our capacity to 52 beds and had made provisions for an in-house laundry to cater for a larger number of residents. Because of my previous research on JLA and the OTEX process, I was happy to proceed with the its specification for my laundry requirements.

The alternative was to keep using our domestic machines or continue outsourcing. In relation to resident’s personal laundry, outsourcing was not an option, so we opted to implement our own state-of-the-art laundry facility and JLA came up with the ideal solution. Installation and training was conducted without any fuss and the transition to our own in house laundry was smooth and simple. Since we upgraded, we do about 14 loads per 24 hour period (7 loads per machine/24 hours) and can be sure that each and every item we wash is completely disinfected.

MRSA infection in our nursing home has been significantly reduced, if not eradicated due to our OTEX laundry system since 2008 – it is standard practice for all acute care facilities to swab for MRSA on admission all residents from Nursing Homes in Ireland, and any of our residents who have been re-admitted to such have been MRSA negative.

I know that the OTEX process and validation system has also been praised by H.I.Q.A (The Health Information and Quality Authority). This is the independent inspectorate in Ireland for Nursing Homes, and is the equivalent of the C.Q.C (Care Quality Commission) in England.

JLA: Are you seeing savings on energy bills, etc?

Jimmy: Our energy bills have reduced significantly and cost up to 50% less than comparable Nursing Homes.

JLA: How are you finding Total Care?

Jimmy: Engineering back up is top-class and JLA have always resolved any problems. Total Care is very good value, and I have always recommended it to my colleagues. With everything included from the machines themselves to the breakdown cover and support I receive, it is the only way to go in my opinion. My experience with JLA has been one of total satisfaction and partnership. They have listened to my requirements, advised in relation to these requirements, and provided the service and equipment to meet our specific needs.