Patients expect a lot more than treatment and care during hospital admissions. The quality and taste of the food served matter because nutrition is a vital aspect of recovery. The food service department has a major responsibility to fulfill in this context. It requires people with special expertise to run kitchen and cafeteria operations efficiently and serve the entire facility seamlessly. At the same time, patient satisfaction should be a priority. Running the service is not easy, considering the need to balance these expectations. Here are some ways hospitals can enhance the quality of food and service for patients.
Facilitate personalized orders
Personalized orders can set apart a provider for their products and services, and it applies in the hospital settings as well. It is even more relevant because dietary needs differ for patients. Consider different patient groups like children and seniors to step ahead with personalized catering. Providing cook-to-order options according to these needs and preferences is the best way to enhance satisfaction. The same service should be available for friends and family with customized meals on the visitors’ menu.
Go the extra mile with presentation
Although hospital meals are different from fine dining, plate presentation can make a difference. Service partners can go the extra mile by transforming simple dishes into a feast for the eyes. The strategy is quick and requires little investment of time, money, and effort. A few creative touches are enough to create a good impression on patients and visitors and get a positive response.
Pay attention to nutrition
Nutrition is perhaps the most critical concern for patients and practitioners because it speeds up recovery. The food service department must pay attention to the nutritional value of each dish they serve to the patient. Using Nutritional Calculation Software is a good idea to bring speed and accuracy into the evaluation process. It even provides downloadable, printable nutrition labels that can improve patient trust in food quality and provider.
Test and follow up the taste
Patients and visitors do not expect a lot from the hospital food from a taste perspective. But providers can overcome the taste misconception through regular taste testing sessions. Kitchen staff, other employees, and hospital dieticians can do the tastings and provide feedback. Chefs can follow up on the feedback by implementing new recipe ideas while ensuring no compromise with the nutritional value. Revisiting menu selections and trying new variations also help.
Go seasonal with menu selection
Besides fine-tuning taste and nutrition, hospital food departments must go seasonal with menu selections. Serving seasonal fruits and vegetables is a good place to start because fresh produce promises flavor and freshness. There is much chefs can experiment with, from playing with veggie sides to serving plant-based entrees and adding an excellent finishing touch with fresh fruit desserts. They can also design diet-specific dishes with healthy options available in the season.
Patient satisfaction in hospitals requires attention to several factors, and food is often an overlooked one. But organizations must do their bit to serve the best to patients and caregivers. These simple measures can take them on the right track.