Patients on the Women’s and Children’s floor at North Alabama Medical Center, as well as the Pediatrics unit are getting a unique experience during their stay in the hospital, with room service. With the room service option, these patients are able to select items from a restaurant style menu. Meals are prepared to order and delivered to a patient’s bedside, typically within 45 minutes.
“Allowing patients to choose what they want to eat and when they want to eat has been a success already,” said Tara Talmage, Patient Service and Clinical Nutrition Manager. “For example, on the Women’s and Children’s floor, room service caters to the mother’s new schedule. We’re no longer just dropping off a tray when it’s inconvenient. When the mother calls room service, she’s ready to eat.”
Food and Nutrition Services rolled out the program in early October. Room service is available seven days a week. Currently, there are two full time employees who solely work the room service program. Both were hired specifically for this new concept.
“For me, I love the interaction with the patients on the phone and when I deliver the meals,” said Michael Fitzsimmons, a room service employee. “With this program, we can provide options the patients can’t get through the regular tray line, so I feel like we’re really meeting their needs.”
Talmage says she has also noticed less waste with this program. “Often times, patients won’t call room service for three meals a day if they know family is bringing in food, or if they’re just not hungry. With the traditional tray line service, three meals are delivered regardless if the food will be eaten.”
Nurses on the Women’s and Children’s floor as well as the Pediatrics units also appreciate the service. The tray delivery and pick-up allows nurses and patient care assistants to eliminate this task.