In light of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many hospitals are thinking of different ways to increase their preventive care measures. Health care food service has the ability for strong outreach programs and can help administer preventive care.
The Geisinger Health System’s Cardiac Rehab Center in Pennsylvania has held a number of cooking demonstrations that are open to the community. These sessions educate participants on healthy cooking and eating methods. Additionally, the courses are led by guest chefs, who range from former patients to local restaurant chefs.
Reach out for health
Hospital food service has an immense impact on the lives of patients, staff members and visitors. By offering healthy cooking demonstrations, you can extend your kitchen’s nutritional efforts to the broader community. Educating former patients and members of the general public on healthy ingredients and meals can be a great outreach program.
Start by offering demonstrations in the hospital and invite in-hospital chefs to lead the first few courses. Afterward, when interest grows and the word has spread, consider collaborating with local restaurant chefs to garner more attention. This will allow your chefs to share the responsibilities with other culinary artists.
Those using food service software will be able to take advantage of the nutrition software features. Use the myriad information available to show participants the nutritional benefits of different food items. You can start with general demonstrations on healthy eating habits, then progress to gear certain courses toward specific illnesses, such as cardiac conditions or diabetes. As you experiment with these sessions, consider asking participants what they would like to see at the next few meetings.
Go the extra mile
Food Management magazine quoted the vice president of diversity and external relations for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Karen Lechowich, who pointed out that the preventive care aspects of the ACA have yet to be explored and may offer reimbursements for groups that host preventive care events.
Though reimbursements on preventive care cooking demonstrations have yet to be established, it is nevertheless, a great program that embraces the general public and recognizes their need for preventive care. Furthermore, it shows the impact that hospital food service can have beyond the walls of the institutions. Both patients and the public will recognize and appreciate the efforts, thereby boosting patient and community satisfaction.