Niagara, ON - Patients at the Douglas Memorial Hospital (DMH) and Port Colborne General (PCG) sites of the Niagara Health System (NHS) will select their daily meals from a restaurant-style menu when a new service is introduced in spring 2008 that will enhance patient satisfaction while also improving cost efficiencies.
The Fully Plated Meals (FPM) service builds on the success at the NHS's Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) Site where the service was implemented in October 2006. Patients are offered a restaurant-style menu with six to seven hot meals to choose from at each mealtime, in addition to a selection of soups, sandwiches, salad plates and desserts. Favourite dishes at NOTL include Tilapia Almondine, Chicken Cacciatore, Country Chicken Casserole, Meatball Stroganoff and Shepherds Pie.
"With FPM, trays are prepared to order on site in the kitchen, then heated prior to service," says Lisa Slack, Regional Director, Food Services. "NOTL has driven out all food waste and reduced its food costs. More importantly, FPM has improved patient and staff satisfaction at NOTL."
The FPM service works best at smaller hospital sites. Patient feedback notes improvements in taste, texture, temperature, accuracy and staff courtesy in NOTL. Food Services staff at the site are champions of the service. Nursing has also been very supportive and appreciates how FPM improves patient care by giving patients greater choice and better meal service. Similar enhancements are anticipated at the DMH and PCG sites.
"Patients will have a much greater choice of meals at Douglas Memorial and Port Colborne General, where they now choose from two dishes at mealtime," says Slack. "In addition, streamlining meal assembly in the kitchen will contribute to improved control over food costs, decreasing food waste and reducing annual costs by over $200,000."
There will be reductions in Food Services staff at both the DMH and PCG sites, but with the vacancies currently in place across the NHS, layoffs will not be required. A staff redeployment plan has been developed and strategies are in place to minimize impact on affected staff.