Food Safety Control – Cooling and Reheating Meals


With the introduction of the Food Act 2014 and the requirement for most aged care facilities to have registered their food control plan (FCP) by March 2018, I thought I would write this article on a common kitchen practice that will require review.

FCP’s are included in the policy and procedure documentation provided by HCSL specifically designed for residential care facilities.

In many facilities the main meal is served in the middle of the day and the tea meal served at night.  The main cook of the day will prepare the tea meal earlier in the afternoon, and then finish his or her shift.  The tea meal will be reheated by the afternoon staff and served to the residents.

The process of cooking, cooling and reheating requires careful control of the food safety risk.  Many tea options are protein or carbohydrate based; macaroni cheese, egg dishes, savoury mince, chicken options – all of which are high risk foods for bacteria growth.

Foods need to be cooled quickly to avoid time and temperature abuse, which may allow bacteria growth.  The guidelines state that when cooling hot cooked foods, the food must cool to at least 21° within the first two hours, and then cool to below 5° in four more hours.  Overall, the food must be out of the danger zone (between 5°C and 60°C) within six hours.

A functioning chiller should allow cooked foods to cool within this timeframe.  Using domestic fridges that are overcrowded, may mean the cooling guidelines are not met.  Using shallow dishes rather than large deep dishes will also allow foods to cool faster.

The food control plan will specify the process the site kitchen must follow with regards to cooling of cooked food.  Temperatures during cooling will need to be checked and recorded to ensure the time / temperature targets are met.

Prior to serving, the food must be reheated to above 75°C.

Some sites choose to hold the prepared food hot until service.  Food must be held hot at a temperature of at least 60°C, usually in a bain-marie or oven at 70°C.  Any food held below 60°C for more than 2 hours, must be thrown out.  Note that holding foods hot for this period of time may affect the food quality.

Main Points:

  • Food safety risk with cooling and reheating foods must be managed with FCP
  • Cool cooked food to below 21°C in 2 hours and below 5°C in 4 hours
  • Reheat foods to above 75°C before service
  • Hold hot prepared foods at 60°C or more
  • Document food temperatures and any corrective action
  • Review corrective action implementation to ensure they have been effective


Article contributed by:

Liz Beaglehole

NZ Registered Dietitian

Canterbury Dietitians


Career Opportunity with HCSL

This is an exciting opportunity for a focused and self-motivated administrator with good organisational skills, an excellent customer service ethic and the ability to adapt to change. Our small and enthusiastic team are currently seeking a focused and experienced Client Support / Administrative Assistant to assist our growing client base with our increasing range of services.


  • Do you enjoy taking responsibility for a job well done?
  • Do you enjoy an office environment and being helpful (aka team player!)?
  • Able to participate in listening to client feedback and helping problem solve?
  • Help promote our services?

We enjoy keeping things light-hearted so a sense of humour will help!

In a nutshell, the role includes a variety of functions within our team. These include the timely supply of customised policy and procedure documents for individual aged care facilities; supporting the set up for new clients and administration tasks supporting the business as new system features are released. For the right professional with a positive, professional attitude, we’ll teach you what you need to know.


We want to hear from YOU if you have:

  • Can do attitude!
  • General clerical and administration experience
  • Intermediate or above computer skills with Microsoft Office Suite, including MS Excel and Xero accounting package
  • Attention to detail to ensure data being entered is accurate
  • Good verbal, written and interpersonal skills with the ability to build positive rapport quickly
  • A strong commitment to providing first-class customer service
  • The legal right to be working in New Zealand
  • Experience in the Health sector in particular Aged Care or Retirement Village Sector is preferred but not essential.

Contact us today to apply or find out more.

Pacific people’s cultural safety, Entering aged care and advanced care planning – Part 2

Pacific people’s cultural safety, Entering aged care and advanced care planning – Part 2

Cultural competence – a conversation with Reverend Neti and Registered Nurse Philomena Petaia talking about supporting Pacific People in Aged Residential Care. This is being presented by Gillian Robinson, Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Nursing, Lead Auditor, and Author. She is the director of Healthcare Compliance Solutions Ltd. This presentation is intended to support the education and learning for nurses and senior care aged residential care in NZ. 


Pacific people’s cultural safety in aged care Part 1

Cultural competence – a conversation with Reverend Neti and Registered Nurse Philomena Petaia talking about supporting Pacific People in Aged Residential Care. This is being presented by Gillian Robinson, Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Nursing, Lead Auditor, and Author. She is the director of Healthcare Compliance Solutions Ltd. This presentation is intended to support the education and learning for nurses and senior care aged residential care in NZ.

Password Security HCSL

Password Security In 2022

If your passwords are less than 8 characters long, you must change them immediately, according to a recent study from Hive Systems.

Your online security is important and this study demonstrates how long it would likely take the average hacker to crack the passwords safeguarding your most important online accounts.

Short and simple passwords can be cracked in a matter of seconds. Long and complicated ones? Trillions of years.

Password Security HCSL


Podiatry and Foot Care in Aged Residential Care

This interview between Gillian Robinson, (Nurse consultant – HCSL) and Sophie Walls (Podiatrist – Merivale Podiatry) helps highlight the importance of podiatry and good foot care for those in aged residential care.

Testimonial – The Village Palms & Merivale Retirement Village




After being a Registered Nurse and Manager for over thirty years, I have seen new systems come and go. The uphill struggle attempting to adapt a systems functionality when it obviously does not meet service requirements is both time consuming and frustrating. Life in the New Zealand aged care industry is difficult enough without having inadequate electronic tools to assist you in data collection, reporting, analysis and creating a log of presenting issues.

That is why the HCSL system is an absolute God send. There is a reason why this system is the winner of the Excellence in Software Award – NZ Excellence in IT Awards 2021.

It’s easily navigable system, national benchmarking for clinical KPI’s, complaints management, automatically updated policies and procedures and prompting for overdue care plan reviews to name a few, make it a truly invaluable tool for managers.

If you work in the New Zealand aged care industry and have not yet invested in HCSL, you really are missing out. I strongly recommend taking the time to find out about HCSL and the immediate benefits it will bring to any organisation whether it is a large corporate or a smaller, owner-operator business.

Jon Amesbury RN – Regional General Manager

The Village Palms & Merivale Retirement Village

Staying Strong at Home

Staying strong while staying Independent

Written By

Jessie Snowdon, New Zealand Registered Physiotherapist, Director On the Go Physio Limited, March 2022

Two years into New Zealand’s journey with COVID and these days can seem harder than ever.
We have endured lock downs and now we are in this strange no-man’s land where it feels for
many older adults, that in order to stay safe we must stay home.

Strength is IMPORTANT!

If you are not getting your usual physical activity, or if you have never been that keen on
exercise (!) then you should try and build in some structured exercise every day. Exercise can
come in many ways – gardening, bowls, walking – and although these are all excellent ways
to get in your recommended 150 minutes a week, the real hero of the story is building

As we age we naturally lose muscle strength, and our muscle fibres change – but age is NOT
a barrier to improving strength and muscle mass. We know that there is a direct link between
strengthening exercises and decreased risk of falls, and we all want that!

How can I strengthen my muscles?

In order to make change you must put your muscles under a certain load…and this means it
must be hard! The great news is that you don’t need to spend much time, if you hit the right
level of ‘hardness’. You can work through a strength programme in 10 minutes!

We recommend that you start with 10 repetitions of each exercise for a few days, and then
find the level at which doing 6-8 of the exercise feels “hard”. “Hard” means that you don’t
feel you could do any more without a rest.

When you have established that level you should work through your whole programme then
take a 2 minute rest. Then, guess what? Do it all again!

Which muscles should I strengthen?

You should strength the muscles you need for function. This means the ones you need for
every day activities like standing up from a chair, walking fast, picking up objects and helping
with balance.

The programme below covers off all of these.

Is there anything I should be careful of?

With all exercise you should be aware of and stop if you experience pain in your muscles or
joints, chest pain, severe shortness of breath or severe dizziness. Remember though that
when you work your muscles hard you can expect to have slight soreness the next day or so,
especially when you have just started.

Ok I’m ready! Show me the exercises!

As you are all individuals it is hard to prescribe one set of exercises for everyone. You will
need to apply some common sense and ensure you feel safe during each exercise. If you are
unsteady, or usually use a walking stick or frame, then ensure you are holding on to the bench
or table – or have your frame in front.

Ready….let’s go!

Exercise one – Standing up and sitting down This works the muscles you need to get from a chair but also to bend down, walk, climb stairs – it is an excellent all-round functional exercise.

❖ Start in a firm chair that you know you can stand up from.
❖ Using both hands lean forward and then stand up.
❖ Repeat this 6-8 times.

Easy? Make it harder by…

• Speeding up.
• Just use one hand.

• Use no hands (cross arms across chest).
• Sitting on a lower seat.
• Holding something heavy in your arms such as bottled water, or some weights.

Exercise two – rising up onto tiptoes
As long as you aren’t hanging on for dear life this is an excellent whole leg work out.

You need strong calf muscles to walk and for balance.

❖ Hold onto a steady surface such as a kitchen bench or back of a chair.
❖ Rise up onto your tip toes, as high as you can.
❖ Try to go straight up, not forward.
❖ Repeat 6-8 times.

Easy? Make it harder by…

• Decreasing your hand grip so you just use index fingers.
• Putting a back pack on with weights such as bottled water in it.
• Lift one leg off the ground and take all the weight on one side!

Exercise three – standing on one leg
This works the muscles around your hips and is excellent for stability and balance.

❖ Hold onto a steady surface.
❖ Make your left leg strong and gently lift your right.
❖ Focus hard to ensure your hips stay level – your trunk and shoulders shouldn’t move!
❖ Hold for 5 seconds then swap sides.
❖ Repeat 6-8 times on each side

Easy? Make it harder by

• Standing for 10 seconds
• Decreasing how much you use your hands, change to just index fingers, or no hands!

Exercise four – push ups!

Strong arms are essential for helping you pick up and carry objects, and to push yourself up from a chair, bed or the floor. We often neglect our arms so make sure to include this one!

❖ Stand with your hands against the wall, have a chair next to you if needed.
❖ With fingers spread and arms close to your body allow your elbows to bend so you
come closer to the wall.
❖ Breath out and push away back into standing.
❖ Repeat 6-8 times.

Easy? Make it harder by…

• Using the bench to lean on instead of the wall.
• Increase your speed.

This is an excellent starting point with four functional exercises. If you repeat all these then
you should have a good 10-minute daily walk out. If you would like so extra balance
exercises then read on!


Balance exercises are harder to prescribe as everyone is at very different levels and you need to keep safe! Here are some options for balance work but ensure you are by a sturdy surface and work within your abilities.

Exercise one: Standing still balance
❖ Stand with your feet together, without holding on, for 10 seconds


Easy? Make it harder by…

• Turning your head slowly side to side.
• Closing your eyes (with care).
• Changing your foot position into “step”.
Exercise two: walking backwards
❖ Carefully walk backwards alongside your bench. If you normally use a frame or walking
stick then ensure you use if for this exercise.
❖ Focus on long, slow steps.

Exercise three: walking in a figure 8

❖ In an open space you can put down two objects (salt and pepper shakers, two water
bottles) about 1 metre apart.
❖ Weave around these in a figure 8.
❖ Use your walking frame or stick if this is normal for you.

Easy? Make it harder by…

• Moving the objects closer.
• Going faster!

You are now carrying out a great exercise plan. If you are able to you
should include regular walking at a good pace out in the community. You should also
ensure that once you have done your daily exercises you don’t sit down the rest of day.
Every 30 minutes you should be up on your feet, even if just for a minute or two.
If you would like more advice or and individualised treatment plan then we offer clinic,
home and online appointments and would love to help you regain and maintain your

Original Article By: Jessie Snowdon, New Zealand Registered Physiotherapist, Director On the Go Physio Limited, March 2022
Evolution of meeting Clients needs

The Evolution of Meeting Client’s Needs

The Evolution of Meeting Client's Needs

In March 2022 Gillian Robinson, HCSL Founder, RN, BN, Lead Auditor spoke virtually at the New Zealand Health IT (NZHIT) conference. Her topic was the Evolution of meeting clients’ needs. In this talk, Gillian covered how HCSL is not only Nurse & Auditor designed software but also has called on direct feedback and input from the aged care sector. This has been essential in shaping the direction of design, development and the future roadmap of a software solution aimed at helping the aged care sector of New Zealand meet its ever-changing needs and regulations, especially in the time of Covid.

New Feature – Tracking Social & Hospital Leave

With Covid at record numbers in the country, it has increasingly become essential to track your residents movements and days in and out of your facility, for either for Hospital Visits or Social leave. 

As a result we have added a new tracking feature to help you record this for all of your residents and include this in our running We’ve deployed into the LIVE system the first of the changes for tracking additional information to help support invoicing. 

This came out of feedback from a number of our clients who have expressed a real need for this 

Social leave

This new feature can be found It’s in the resident details page of the resident profile and supports the tracking of any time where the resident is Absent in hospital or out on Social Leave.  

It will also show on the resident log if resident are SL (on social leave) or AH (Absent in hospital) and will also auto populate in the evacuation register in HCSL.