What’s on the menu at GV Health?
Published at: 18 Oct 2019
WITH THIS WEEK MARKING NATIONAL NUTRITION WEEK, WE DELVED INTO GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH’S FOOD SERVICES. THE SERVICE IS EXCITEDLY PREPARING TO IMPLEMENT A ROOM SERVICE FOOD DELIVERY MODEL AND WILL BE THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC HOSPITAL TO DO SO.
Goulburn Valley Health will join a handful of private hospitals in Australia when it begins the Room Service Delivery Model next year.
The model will see a huge overhaul of the way patients are fed at GV Health.
GV Health’s manager of business services Brett Dobson explained how the model would work.
“There will be a wider range of choices available at a wider range of times,” he said.
Food services officer Emily Mason described the model as essentially being the same as ordering off an á la carte menu.
The pair said the hospital would look to implement the new model as a result of the current Graham St redevelopment, set to result in a new kitchen for food services.
“We’re currently looking towards mid-2020,” Mr Dobson said.
Ms Mason said the new kitchen was being specifically designed for the Room Service Food Delivery model.
“We had the opportunity, with the rebuild of the kitchen, that we could do it from the ground-up,” Mr Dobson said.
Considering emerging consumer trends along with being more responsive and reactive to patients’ needs, the pair said the room service model had a huge focus on patient-centred care.
“There’s been lots of documentation that we’ve looked into that; there is a huge increase in patient satisfaction,” Ms Mason said.
Ms Mason and Mr Dobson explained the model had been implemented throughout the United States where there was a largely privatised healthcare system.
“There’s a higher expectation from consumers to get better choices and that has then stemmed across to higher-end and private hospitals across the world; so it’s flowed into Australia,” Mr Dobson said.
GV Health engaged with consultants from the US who advised the health service on how the model would work best in the setting.
Currently, the service has around 40 employees.
The pair explained some of the reasons GV Health was moving away from the current food service model.
“With the current model, our menu monitors go to the bedside and ask the patient what they would like for the following day,” Ms Mason said.
“In a hospital, someone’s condition can change substantially in a 24-hour period; so with the new delivery model they have the option of having their order placed and having their food delivered to them in 45 minutes.”
“We get some challenges sometimes with patients with cognitive impairment,” Mr Dobson added.
“They may not remember what they ordered yesterday and that can become challenging and more confusing for the patient.”
Mr Dobson also said there was currently quite a large amount of waste when it came to using bulk food production methods.
“Generationally you find a cohort of patients that, if a meal looks large, then they won’t eat any of it because they think that you’ll use it for something else; they don’t want to waste it,” he said.
Furthermore Mr Dobson said patients would feel they had more control over what they were eating, even being able to dictate portion sizes.
This plays an important role in aiding the recovery of patients.
“From our perspective, we have diet codes specifically to aid recovery,”
Mr Dobson said, adding that these could be better adapted to suit cohorts of patients with the new model.
“There is a lot of thought that goes into the most suitable diet and food choices for the patient with certain conditions.
“We work closely with nutrition staff, completing meal audits about what patients are eating and making sure they’re consuming a diet to aid recovery.”
Not to mention the food will be freshly cooked, textured food, meaning it will taste better and patients will be more likely to consume the food.
“It’s about trying to adapt to get people to eat when they want to eat and what they want to eat,” Mr Dobson said.
“When you start to eat you get better, you go home quicker, you recover quickly, and you start to feel better.”
The Room Service Delivery Model will also ensure a higher level of emotional support from the ward hosts and menu monitors who will develop relationships with patients.
“We see benefits with pastoral care with identifying if the patient is maybe not eating or drinking as much as they should,” Mr Dobson said.
“The ward host actually develops a relationship with the patients because they’re the ones taking the orders; they come back to the kitchen and it’s communicated to the kitchen via technology … then that same person delivers back to the patient,” Ms Mason said.
“They know what the patient likes; they can see if they’re not consuming it and then liaise with dietitians and get to the bottom of it.”
Mr Dobson described the new service as “a bit of old-fashioned hospitality” and said it would also bring new employment opportunities.
“Recruitment has been centred around people with hospitality backgrounds,” he said.