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Serving up Patient-Family Centered Meals in the New Hospital

Joliet, IL (Nov. 3, 2011)—Over the years, hospital food has typically gotten a negative wrap—but not at Silver Cross.  That’s because our Nutrition Services Department, which is managed by Aramark, has done a fantastic job listening to our patients and other customers to improve the dining experience.  When we move into the new hospital on Feb. 26, 2012, patients, visitors and staff alike will get a taste of just what this new facility will offer including personalized service, expanded menu choices, beautiful dining area, quaint coffee/deli shop, and Java City kiosk.

meals1Inpatient Meal Service
The best way to describe the patient-family centered care enhancements on the inpatient units is more personalized service.  The menu clerk or host/hostess will be assigned to each patient and not only take the order but also follow it through to make sure that everything is to the patient’s satisfaction.  This includes assembling and delivering trays to patients. 

“This is a best practice at other hospitals throughout the country and allows our Nutrition Services staff member servicing patients to have more ownership over the outcome and presentation of the meals,” said Chuck Zuehlke, Director of Nutrition Services at Silver Cross.  “We will be able to provide an unrivaled healthcare experience while still serving a delicious and nutritious meal to patients.”

Sandy Owens and the rest of the Nutrition Services team is looking forward to state-of the-art stainless steel kitchen and all the new equipment.  The kitchen has been designed so that the trays will be assembled in pods instead of on a line.  This set-up will let us easily transition to a room-service model in the future.  Food will be placed on all new serving dishes that have a special heat-on-demand system allowing food to remain at the appropriate temperature as it is being delivered to the patient.   And of course, the meals will continue to be healthy and tasty!

meals2Modern Dining Room & Outside Patio
One of the main highlights in the new hospital is the attractive 2-story dining room and outside patio on the Lower Level.  With an expanded seating capacity of 215, the cafeteria and dining room is easily accessible via elevator or staircase from the main Lobby and also from Pavilion A.  Although the hours of operation have not changed (open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), the selection definitely has.  In addition to the usual fare, patrons will be able to choose from a brick-oven pizza and pasta station, charbroiled grill with made to order breakfast entrees and sandwiches, and chef display station featuring stir fry and specialty sandwiches.  There is also a homemade bakery case and expanded beverage cooler. 

“Once you have made your selection, you can pay with cash, credit card or gift card,” says Chuck.

 An abundance of restaurant-style seating is available inside and outside and is adorned plants and interesting artwork from local designers.  Dee Rabenu, Nutrition Services Aide, can’t wait for the new dining room and all the natural light that will stream in.  “I am looking forward to everything being brand new including the items we will be able to offer on the grill and brick oven pizza station.”

Coffee Shops
Probably the largest patient, visitor and staff satisfier is the addition of a charming coffee shop in the new hospital serving Starbucks-brand beverages.  Pastries, salads, snacks, and deli-sandwiches will also be available.  The Coffee Shop is located in the main Lobby and will be open from Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.  There will also be select seating inside.

“Due to overwhelming demand from night-time staff, emergency patients, and visitors, we decided to keep the shop open 20 hours a day,” says Chuck.  “We wanted to provide these late-night folks with fresh, made-to-order options to compliment what is already offered in the vending machines around the hospital.”

There will also be a coffee kiosk in the shared Lobby between Pavilion A and B.  The kiosk will be similar to Java City but have expanded hours.  Open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, this location will be convenient for outpatients, visitors, and the physician office staff in those buildings. 

More information about the replacement hospital is available here. For regular updates, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and watch us on YouTube.

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