Patient Services Rotation: Day 1 and 2

This week I started my patient services rotation at Monongalia General Hospital. I will be spending the next two weeks conducting tray audits and meal rounds, creating new menus, developing and implementing a survey for patients on the diabetic diet and an inservice for food service employees, as well as executing a food waste project.

Tray Audits

Tray audits, or patient tray assessments, are conducted in order to assess the rate of delivery of a meal tray from assembly of the tray to the delivery of that tray to the patient. The tray is scored on various categories such as temperature, flavor, aroma, appearance, quality and preparation, portion size, and tray completeness.  If the tray is scored below a 90%, corrective action must be taken.

To see an example of an example tray audit form, click below:

Example Tray Audit Form

Meal Rounds

Meal rounds is a hospital policy in which patients provide feedback on meal quality, timeliness, appropriate temperatures, and uncertainties about special diets.  I perform meal rounds every morning on a different floor/wing of the hospital.  I ask a few questions, including:

“How would you rate the overall quality of the food at the hospital?”

“How is the temperature of the food? Are the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold?”

“I see you are on a __________ diet. Do you have any questions about that?”

“Is there anything else I can do or get for you?”

Based on the patient’s responses, I then rate their answers as either “Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor”.  The nutrition services department can then use this data as a way to determine patient satisfaction and identify potential areas for improvement.

Tray Line

Today I worked tray line for the lunch service.  The hospital has a very efficient system for getting trays assembled and transported to a patient’s room in a timely manner.  My job was to work the hot foods stations.  After the hot foods are added to a heated plate, the tray is passed to an employee who adds sides, desserts, beverages, and garnishes.  Around 12-15 trays are then loaded onto a cart and transported onto the appropriate floor.

Today’s lunch consisted of a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, macaroni and cheese or corn, coleslaw, and jello.  I have to say, this lunch was by far my favorite out of any of the meals I have tried so far – It was delicious!

Tray line workers are responsible for reading a patient’s meal ticket and assembling the tray with all the appropriate items.  Because there are so many different types of diets, there are many modifications that have to be made.

The different types of diets include:

  • Cardiac Diet – Low sodium, low fat
  • Diabetic Diet – Carbohydrate controlled
  • Gluten-free Diet – No wheat, barley, or rye products
  • Clear Liquid – Foods that are transparent and liquid at body temperature. Ex: juice, gelatin, ice water, popsicles, ice chips, sweetened tea/coffee, soda
  • Full Liquid – All the foods allowed on the clear liquid diet with the addition of milk and small amounts of fiber. Ex: thin cereal, strained cream soups, milkshakes, custard, and pudding
  • Mechanical Soft – Foods that are soft-textured and moist so a bolus can be formed. Half inch chunks of easy-to-chew meats/veggies are allowed.
  • Puree – Foods are totally pureed without and lumps or coarse textures
  • Cardiolite Diet – For patients taking a stress diet that day

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