Veteran-Centered Care

New cart delivery system improves patient satisfaction scores.

JACKSON, Miss.—Patient meal service at the GV Montgomery VA Medical Center was changed last spring to increase patient satisfaction. Instead of a traditional trayline delivery system, a new veteran-centered care program brings meals to the floor on carts, allowing patients to select from three daily entrée options.

Tricia Mathias, R.D., chief of nutrition and food services, says the new cart program allows veterans greater control and flexibility with their meals.

“We’re trying to create a culture of veteran-centered care by allowing veterans to select foods and try to get them to directly participate in their healthcare,” Mathias says. “When you’re in a hospital you don’t have very much control. Doctors and nurses decide what’s going on. This is an effort to give them more control and to offer them choices.”

Meals now are delivered using hostess carts, and residents now have a selection of options. There are two entrée choices, as well as a sandwich at lunch and dinner. There are also options for beverages, vegetables, salads and desserts.

“The carts allow us to bring the food up to the wards, so the patients can smell the food,” Mathias says. “It’s fresh and hot and the meals can be individualized. Our foodservice workers go into the room right at mealtime and ask the veterans what choice they want. It’s good because then the foodservice worker can interact with the veteran. We have all the condiments and extra things on the cart. So if the veteran wants two milks or three sugars then we can provide it right there. We stay on the ward a longer time than before. Before we were just delivering the tray and going. If there is something else that they need or they don’t like what they got, we’re still up on the ward. We’re available to the nursing staff. It gives us more time to interact with the veteran and provide better customer service.”

Mathias says that some of the residents’ choices were surprising. “We were usually serving milk and tea. Then almost everyone wanted lemonade,” she says. “The desserts were another one. I thought everyone would want cakes and pies, but ice cream was what everybody wanted. I also thought a lot of veterans would want soup and a sandwich, but they didn’t want that at all. They want the hot meal.”

One of the big selling points of the new cart program was it did not increase FTEs.

“Before we had a trayline and we had to have a certain number of employees on a trayline and then additional staff to deliver the trays. This way it’s the same number of staff, but they just stay on the unit rather than having to stay in the kitchen. A lot of the employees who really weren’t getting that much time with the veterans are able to.”

Mathias says the reaction to the program has been positive. Veterans love the interaction with the foodservice workers, she says, and satisfaction scores have improved. “Another positive asset, something the dietitians like to see, is the consumption of food has improved. I think it’s mainly because veterans are getting things that they want and so they are eating more of the food that they are being given.” 

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
boston college acai bowl

From Dannon Foodservice.

Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

Sponsored Content
savory yogurt parfait

From Dannon Foodservice.

What consumers eat and, most importantly, when they’re eating it has changed significantly in recent years, signaling opportunity for operators able to capitalize on this evolution.

For example, some 83% of consumers said they were daily snackers in 2016, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . That’s up from 76% just two years earlier. Snacking is growing across many channels from retail prepared foods to bakery and coffee cafes, fast-food locations and more.

Busy lifestyles, smaller households with greater meal...

Industry News & Opinion

Labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder has officially bowed out of consideration for the cabinet position, according to the Associated Press .

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.—was tired of being under fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News . The agency reported that Puzder was unlikely to show for the start of his confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Puzder has also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that...

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

FSD Resources