July 15, 2009
Continuing its tradition of innovative patient care, CarolinaEast Medical Center has recently implemented the At Your Request room service style patient meal delivery system.
“Our patients deserve the best care available and we consider the non-clinical side of their care experience – such as the enjoyment of their meals – an extremely important part of the positive CarolinaEast experience,” said Ray Leggett, President and CEO. “We are pleased to offer this service enhancement to our guests.”
The At Your Request system of patient meal delivery is very similar to room service found in hotels. Patients can order off a full menu, what they want, when they want it. The menu includes items one would not consider usual hospital fare. Grilled salmon, roast pork, personal pizza, omelets, fettuccine alfredo and vegetable quesadillas are among the fresh, made to order items CarolinaEast patients can now enjoy.
Patients on special diets also have a much wider selection than in the past. Specially trained operators assist patients in making appropriate choices. “This system has protocols in place to make sure patient meals are compliant with special diets if ordered by the physician and also to ensure patients are indeed ordering their meals,” explained Alison Quebedeaux, Clinical Nutrition Manager.
Implementation of the At Your Request Room Service Dining® necessitated redesigning the medical center kitchen to support “made to order” meal preparation. “While investment had to be made on the front-end to bring this service to our patients, we anticipate a cost savings in the long run,” said Hardy Jones, Director, Food Services. “There will be much less food waste because the patients order only what they want to eat, not whatever we serve them as was the case in the past,” he explained.
“Patient nutritional intake is much better with this meal delivery system and nutrition plays a major role in patient recovery,” explained Quebedeaux.
“It took a major team effort to bring this to our patients,” said Jones. “Our nursing and direct patient care staff have been very supportive of this process change. We needed them to make this work,” he added.
“We recognize that during a typical hospital stay, patients feel like they don’t have much control over what is happening. By giving them an opportunity to make their own decisions about their meals, we are giving some control back to them,” said Leggett.