Meals and more feeds Indiana Seniors
The foodservice department at Hendricks Regional Health Danville, in Indiana, has created a program called Meals and More to provide seniors with a nutritious meal when they come to the hospital.
Martha Rardin, director of nutrition and dietetics for the 127-bed hospital, says the program is a recent offshoot of the Hendricks County Meals On Wheels program, for which the hospital has been preparing meals for 42 years.
“Seniors can pick up a voucher at the Hendricks County Senior Center,” Rardin explains. “We have the vouchers color-coded by month, and seniors have to redeem the voucher in the month in which they receive it.”
The voucher is good for one meal—breakfast, lunch or dinner. The hospital is reimbursed $6.75 by the Central Indiana Council on Aging for each voucher that is redeemed. Seniors are restricted to certain menu items because the meals are required to meet certain nutritional parameters, Rardin adds.
“The idea behind the program is that seniors often come to the hospital for a doctor’s visit, a test or a procedure,” she notes. “The meal they can get here is likely to be of higher nutritional value than they might get at home or in a restaurant. So it is an opportunity for them to dine out but with a better nutritional profile for their meal.”
Rardin adds that the program has more public relations value than revenue potential; about 60 vouchers are redeemed each month. “But it does generate some additional money, and word of mouth can translate to more business for us,” she says.