One of the ways Mon General’s food service department goes above and beyond, is the inclusion of unique “Mommy Meals”. “Mommy Meals” are provided for new mothers who recently gave birth at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Family Birth Center. These meals are meant to be a special dining experience as a congratulations for the new mother and father. The NY Strip Steak is one of the most popular items on the menu (even though it must be cooked well-done for health standard reasons).
This week during my patient services rotation at Mon General Hospital, one of my assignments was to create an in-service presentation for the food service employees. In-Services are a form of continuing professional education provided by the hospital or employer during working hours in order to improve worker knowledge, education, and attitudes. Typical in-services are in a sit-down, classroom setting and last anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Employees are educated on a variety of topics relating to their respective field and are given a quiz at the end to assess what they have learned.
For my in-service presentation, I chose to do low-sodium diets. Low-sodium diets are ordered for patients who have heart failure, cardiovascular disease, heart surgery, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.
Today I had the opportunity to shadow a Nutrition Services Hostess at Monongalia General Hospital. A Nutrition Services Hostess is responsible for “the preparation, service, and/or clean up of meals including, but not limited to, simple food preparation, tray assembly, cafeteria service and dishwashing”.
One of the most important roles as a hostess is assisting patients in selecting menu items based on personal preferences while still staying in accordance with therapeutic dietary guidelines. I realized that hostesses not only need to have a vast knowledge about the hospital’s menu items, but they also need to be knowledgeable about what foods are allowed to be substituted according to a patient’s special dietary restrictions (ie. low sodium, low fat, carbohydrate counting, fluid restriction, pureed, clear liquids, etc). Each hostess is equipped with a small handheld electronic computer where they can edit a patient’s menu instantly and quickly.
A hostess is also responsible for the final assembly of patient trays. A meal ticket is printed out for each patient tray with specific food items, condiments, drinks, desserts, silverware, garnishes, and the exact quantity of each. Once 10-15 trays are fully assembled, the hostess is responsible for placing the trays onto a cart and wheeling it up to the appropriate floor. Before a tray can be delivered, the hostess has to ask the patient for two patient identifiers: “What is your name?” and “What is your birthday?” This is to ensure tray delivery to the correct patient. A hostess also has to be sure to either wash hands or use hand sanitizer in between rooms to prevent spreading germs or bacteria.
Once the patient correctly identifies themself, the hostess can then serve the patient courteously and provide any assistance the patient may need (adjusting the table placement/height, opening food packages or containers, etc). The hostess then asks if there is anything else the patient may need. If there is a problem, it is essential that the hostess follows up in regards to any meal service requests.
Overall, I learned a lot about the food service system of a hospital and how it operates so efficiently.
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, 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:
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.
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:
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