SJRMC/Plymouth Spicing Up Food Services with Unique Initiatives

September 13, 2010

It’s been four weeks since Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center/Plymouth introduced “At Your Request,” (AYR) room service dining and patients have been enjoying the enhanced care and convenience.

“We’ve been planning for this for about a year and this is one of the smoother launches I’ve been involved with,” said Michael Fredericks, SJRMC/Plymouth’s Director of Nutrition Services. “Patients and their families are now able to enjoy a unique dining experience, similar to hotel room service. They can order off the menu whatever they want, when they want, as long as the kitchen is open.”

The new, user-friendly system is a team effort between a call center at SJRMC’s Mishawaka Campus and the kitchen at SJRMC/Plymouth. The patient orders off a six- page menu in their room by dialing 4-FOOD (3663). An operator in Mishawaka walks the patient through the process, if necessary. The order comes back to Plymouth and within an average of 20 minutes, the patient’s meal is delivered.

“This is a tremendously cost-effective approach because there’s no more mass production – each tray is made to order,” said Fredericks. “None of this could be possible without the great support we have received from the call center up in Mishawaka.”

There are built-in safeguards in the software to ensure each patient’s dietary restrictions and nutritional needs are adhered to with every order.

SJRMC/Plymouth also introduced to the area the first all-Spanish menu in patient rooms.

“This has really helped drive satisfaction, as well, as patients from our Spanish-speaking population come here where they feel comfortable,” said Fredericks.

Another first-time food initiative provided at SJRMC/Plymouth is the hospital’s Farmer’s Market, launched on August 25 and to be available three or four times each year.

“Our next one will be sometime in the fall and we’ll have seasonal items like squash, apples, and some homemade pies,” said Fredericks.

The official date for the next SJRMC/Plymouth Farmer’s Market will be announced soon. It will be available in the hospital’s cafeteria area from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. And while it is mainly geared towards hospital Associates, it is available to Saint Joseph visitors and guests, as well.

“This is a real nice perk for our Nurses who work 12-hour shifts,” said Fredericks. “All of the produce is fresh grown right here in the Midwest.”

The August Farmer’s Market was a big hit as everything sold out during the two hours.

“A big part of healthcare that is oftentimes overlooked is comfort and convenience,” said Fredericks. “These new initiatives are just some of the ways we are trying to enhance those aspects of healthcare for our patients, their families, and our care providers. We want everyone to have a comfortable, convenient experience here and these are creative, effective ways in making that happen.”