FOOD FOR THOUGHT: HOW RUNNYMEDE ENHANCES THE PATIENT MEAL EXPERIENCE
August 03, 2017
Putting patients first is at the forefront of everything that happens at Runnymede Healthcare Centre, and is the first pillar of our Strategic Plan: Vision 2020. Teams all across the hospital are committed to finding ways that can enhance the patient experience, from new patient-centred initiatives or programming, to clubs.
One of the ways that various teams have been working to put patients first is by finding ways to enhance the meal experience for those at Runnymede, with some of the most recent initiatives outlined below:
Fine Dining Program
The activation team at Runnymede, with the support of speech language pathology, occupational therapy and nursing teams, have recently started the Fine Dining Program. Launched this summer, the Fine Dining Program brings an upscale restaurant feel to meal times at the hospital.
Once a week, tables are brought into the Gathering Room – a large event space on the main floor of the hospital – and adorned with white tablecloths, candles and flowers, while a volunteer plays classical music on a piano in the background. A group of patients and their family members are then invited to sit and have a meal together in this atmosphere that’s very unique within a hospital setting.
The program has a variety of physical, intellectual and social benefits for patients and is helping to decrease feelings of isolation that some patients may experience. Sarah King, manager of activation and volunteer services, says that overall, the program has been a great success, with positive feedback coming from both patients and their loved ones. King notes that, "Every week there are people knocking on the door to see if they can get a reservation!"
Guest Meal Program
It can seem like a simple thing, but when you’re in the hospital, sharing a meal with a loved one can pose logistical challenges. Patients might require special meals, based on dietary restrictions or physical limitations, which can make it difficult to have this experience together.
In response to this, Runnymede introduced the Guest Meal Program, which allows loved ones to order a meal through the hospital’s kitchen services. The meal is delivered to the patient floor or room at the same time that the patient receives theirs.
Giving patients and family members or visitors the chance to enjoy a meal together on any day of the week, is a small but meaningful way to help them feel connected.
Patient Family Catering Services
For those who would like to celebrate a special event with loved ones who are patients at Runnymede, a new catering service has been set up to help with the arrangement of food and refreshments. This in-house program is a great opportunity for family and friends to create special memories, without having to leave the hospital for a celebration.
Runnymede is always receptive to the fact that their patient population is changing more than ever before and this can be evidenced by the types of diets that are becoming more and more common. In response to patient feedback, Runnymede has implemented a series of new patient-centred meals to accommodate the changing needs of its patients, including vegan and halal options. For those patients who might have dexterity limitations or dementia, it has been found that finger food diets can be of benefit and these have also been introduced at the hospital.
Enhancing the meal experience
Each of these patient-centred initiatives have had profound effects on both patients and their loved ones. Activities like sharing a meal together or having catering for an event might seem simple, but in the end, they are extremely meaningful and are helping to enhance the patient experience every day at Runnymede.