Individuals working in healthcare food service know how influential their jobs are on patient satisfaction. However, food managers are aware that their duties also affect other hospital staff members and visitors. Boston Children’s Hospital recognized and embraced the power that their kitchen staff have. The institution introduced Parents’ Night Out, which transforms one of the building’s conference rooms into an upscale restaurant where the parents of long-term stay children can enjoy a fancy dinner without having to leave the hospital or breaking their budgets.
BCH’s program underscores the important roles of hospital kitchen staff members. According to the institution’s blog, the culinary offerings are assembled by Executive Chef Colin Targett and tables are waited upon by food service employees, who sport white shirts and black bow ties. Additionally, the events can be coordinated to coincide with anniversaries, which can be scheduled with the hospital’s Child Life Services.
Parents’ Night Out allow couples to spend quality time together without having to leave their children. The setting provides an environment that contrasts a hospital atmosphere. This is a welcome change for mothers and fathers who spend hours at the hospital. Patrons Jim and Becky Penn were featured on the blog entry and enjoyed the concept, having traveled from New York.
“It was a very nice and beautiful setting overlooking the gardens,” stated Becky. “It’s nice to forget that you’re in the hospital for a couple of minutes.”
Targett, along with members in other departments created the concept as a means to support parents whose children were in long-term care.
“We were thinking outside the box and decided to do something special, so the parents could have a little bit of normalcy,” Targett said.
Parents’ Night Out is a simple concept that doesn’t require a large amount of additional work. It’s a relatively small project that shows a hospital’s commitment to its patients and their families. It may be worthwhile to give the setup a try, as it can boost patient and visitor satisfaction.
First approach the kitchen staff to gauge interest, then approach the appropriate departments to establish a room and acquire the appropriate items to create the atmosphere. Encourage chefs to come up with interesting upscale recipes, then see which food service staff members would like to serve the tables. Once the plans have been established, advertise the new program and consider making it a regular offering.