This Monday I started my rotation at Mon General Hospital here in Morgantown. My first 2 weeks will focus on Patient Food Service and Production. I’ll be conducting meal rounds, patient surveys, testing trays, observing tray line, presenting an employee in-service, testing a new 7-day lunch menu, among other things.
Meal rounds are fairly simple to conduct, but can be very important in heading-off any bad service experiences the patient may have had, as well as providing an opportunity to get their nutrition and diet questions answered. I start off by receiving a list of patients on a few floors and a meal round record sheet. I try to speak to a variety of patients on different diets. The different diets include:
- ADA1800 (Diabetic diet, 1800 calories)
- NCEP2 (National Cholesterol Education Program II diet, “Cardiac diet”)
- 2gmNA (2000 mg sodium, sodium-restricted diet)
- ClearLiq (clear liquid diet)
- LoFat50gm (low-fat diet)
- NPO (nothing by mouth, I skip over these patients)
I start by knocking on the door and asking to come in, then introducing myself, asking for their name, and telling them I am here to see how their meals have been. Most patients are very satisfied with the quality of the food and the temperature of the foods (hot foods arriving hot, cold foods arriving cold). Although 90% of the comments are “fine” to “very good,” there were a few issues with the French toast for breakfast this morning;2 patients said it was lukewarm when it arrived, and another said it was soggy rather than crunchy. I imagine it can be difficult to keep French toast, in particular, piping hot from the point of production up until it is delivered to the patient’s room, which can be over a half an hour. I make sure to relay these comments (good and bad) to my preceptor.
I also ask the patients if they have any questions about the diet they are on, if they are on a special diet. Most patients know why they’re on a certain diet. For example, a lot of the patients are diabetic, and so they obviously understand why they are on a diabetic diet, or the ADA1800. If patients have any questions or concerns about their diet or any nutrition questions, I will follow-through by letting a dietitian know, so they can head up to the patient’s room that day and clear up their concerns. This could be a patient who wants to know why they are limited to a certain number of calories, a patient that wants to know what snacks they can have on their diet, or a patient wanting to know why they are on a fat or sodium-restricted diet.
I observed a meal round on Monday and I conducted meal rounds on both Tuesday and today, Wednesday. So far I have comments from 33 patients, and I have 3 more days of meal rounds scheduled, so I hope to get over 80 responses total. It is good to hear directly from the patients about the quality of the food and the temperature of the food, so that patient satisfaction scores can be improved for the hospital and any possible problems in the production or delivery of the meals can be corrected.