It is necessary to provide microwave instructions to health care aides, especially when they are taking care of the enfeebled, stroke-disabled or super elderly. I learned this from hard experience. Besides the instructions not to place metal in the oven, there are protocols to ensure the loved one will not have her mouth burned by excessively high temperatures generated by the oven. If you are involved with a health-care provider many different aides may be assigned over a few months and you cannot assume they all read from the same hymn book. You are not insulting them by providing these instructions. You are exercising supervision.
I established the following "Rules of the Road" regarding microwave ovens:
(1) No metal or foil at any time in the oven.
(2) The food will be heated in one container and then transferred to another (cool) container before serving. A bowl of soup heated in the oven is ALWAYS transferreed to a room-temperature bowl before serving. Yes, this does mean an additional dish or two to rinse, but this is well worth it, in regards to elimination of hazard to the patient.
(3) All heated foods will he tasted (out of sight of) the patient to insure they aren't too hot. Scalding is a very real problem with the enfeebled and stroke-disabled.
(4) In the case of pot-pies, sweet potatoes, or cassaroles, the food will be "opened up" to the center to insure the patient is not scalded. The inside of a potato can be hot enough to burn the mouth and the exterior still appear only warm to the touch. Cut such foods with a knife and taste the middle before serving.
(5) Clean the inside of the oven immediately after use.
There is another reason for changing bowls. Pyrex containers in the United States produced after the year 2000 have a different composition. After heating, and several minutes later, they may suddenly shatter. Changing bowls before serving eliminates this hazard.
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