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Enhancing the Patient Meal Experience

Nutrition & Food Services

Food Matters! It nourishes the body and offers satisfaction, enjoyment and comfort. Everyone deserves a pleasant meal experience that supports health, regardless of where they are dining. A good meal experience goes beyond offering nutritious, tasty food that patients want to eat, it is also essential to ensure that the eating environment and support from the care team are focused on the patient. Access to food and hydration are essential to improved nutritional status and recovery.

Nutrition and Food Services (NFS) has started a journey to enhance the Patient Meal Experience (EPME) and champion a cultural shift in hospitals and continuing care centres. With the support of AHS leadership, frontline care providers need to work together to make mealtimes matter.

Engaging Others

Appreciative Inquiry

The eating environment and support from the care team must be focused on the patient. Recognizing that EPME goes beyond NFS, it is imperative to engage key stakeholders at the site level to help understand the current meal experience and imagine what could be. To accomplish this, sites facilitated Appreciative Inquiry (AI) sessions with members of the care team and non-clinical departments within their facility to better understand factors that could positively or negatively impact the patient’s overall experience.

Appreciative Inquiry Tool

This tool is used to engage others (nursing, allied health, clinical nutrition) in the evaluation of current state of meal service provision for acute and long term care clients at a site. The outcome is to develop and implement a joint action to improve and enhance the services provided.

Appreciative Inquiry How to Guide

This resource provides general direction for the reader to help initiate AI sessions at the site level and use of the AI tool.

Interdepartmental Communication

Department Guideline

Nutrition and Food Services solidified their commitment to EPME through the development of a Patient & Resident Centred Meal Experience Department Guideline; with clearly defined objectives and expectations.

EPME Elevator Speech

Keep it high level and focus on the facts! Communicating this initiative is paramount to its ongoing growth and success. These resources were developed to support individuals who may only have a few minutes to pitch the concept to others; i.e. the time it takes to ride the elevator.

Serving Up Excellence Poster (front of house)

Be transparent and accountable to others. A beautifully designed poster highlighting NFS commitment to EPME is a great way to communicate your position to others.

Patient Communication

One page posters or inserts for site orientation binders are a great way to share important information about meal service with patients, residents and their families. Providing contact information empowers them to know that they can reach NFS should a question arise.

Staff Training

Customer Service Appearance Standards

It is important to NFS that the Food Service Workers serving meals to patients and residents have a professional and identifiable look. Making it easy for others to know who to ask about food services reduces confusion and ensures that questions or concerns can be addressed by the right individuals.

NOD

What could be simpler than stating your name, occupation and duty (NOD) when encountering a patient or resident? NOD shows respect for others and places them at ease by informing them who you are and why you are there. This poster serves as a simple reminder to NFS staff to use NOD.

R.E.S.P.O.N.D.

As the face of NFS on the unit or in a dining room, Food Service Workers are often asked questions about meals. This resource is intended to help support them to answer questions confidently and with accurate messaging.

Serving Up Excellence Poster (back of house)

Be transparent and accountable to yourselves. A beautifully designed poster allows you to reinforce EPME objectives and expectations within NFS.

Success Stories