One of the greatest benefits when staying in a hotel is room service availability. Being able to order food from a menu and having the meal bought to the room is a convenient option that many vacationers enjoy. However, USA Today stated that some hospitals have decided to provide patients with this service in efforts to boost patient satisfaction. Offering room service to patients may have additional benefits for hospital food services and hospitals themselves.
Patients come first
Patients will likely appreciate the variety of foods available. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital implemented room service in 2010 and received raving reviews, according to UAB Hospital’s director of food nutrition and guest services, Charlotte Beeker.
“The response from patients and their families has been overwhelming,” Beeker stated. “Patients tell us they appreciate having a choice in meals, and that the food is outstanding. It’s all part of giving the patient more options and, ultimately, a better patient-centered experience.”
It’s likely that patients who are required to stay overnight would rather be home. Therefore, it’s important to keep them as comfortable as possible. Food has a significant impact on patients, as does service. If your institution already offers healthy meal options for inpatients, it may to time to take patient satisfaction efforts one step further by implementing room service.
Hospitals can opt to have patients order meals by phone or direct interaction. For institutions that don’t yet have room service, it may be a good idea to start with telephone orders so that staff can get used to the new pace. Be sure to train employees on etiquette when dealing with patients. When food services grow more used to this new technique, it may be further beneficial to provide direct interaction. Kitchen staff may be a welcome presence for patients who see mostly health professionals all day.
Hospitals benefit too
Offering made-to-order meals provides fresher food for patients, but it can also save hospitals money by lowering food waste. UAB reported that the hospital saved $400,000 within the first year of room service introduction, proving that the technique benefits not only patients, but also the institutions.
Since the introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, hospitals have considered different methods for increasing patient satisfaction, including a reevaluation of food services. Room service is one of many options that hospitals can use to boost these ratings and can benefit all parties involved.