Wednesday, August 24, 2011 7:21 PM

Community Regional serves up meals hotel style

Community Regional Medical Center is serving up a whole new dining experience for patients, enhancing high-quality and personalized care. Hospital patients can now have meals on their own schedules by using one of two Blue Sky Room Service models: hotel-style and restaurant-style.

The classic hotel-style model puts patients in control of their dining, allowing them to pick up the phone and place a meal order as they would room service. Patients get to eat the things they like most, at the times when they are hungry – even eat breakfast food for dinner if they prefer. Nursing staff says when patients have access to foods they prefer, they tend to eat better – and eating well helps them recover better.

Patients in labor and delivery, burn services, oncology, post partum, antepartum, orthopedics and pediatrics areas of the hospital will be equipped with room service menus and may order meals any time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Patients receive their meal hot, fresh and within 45 minutes of placing an order.

“The traditional tray meal service offers patients a choice between two options for each meal and is delivered at a set time,” said Steve Mikitish, director of food and nutrition services. “The room service model offers patients more than 25 healthy choices per meal based on their specific needs and the flexibility to eat on a schedule that works for them. Traditionally, patients have had to plan their meals 24 hours in advance for the next day, but this really gives patients choices.”

Often set meal times and limited food choices will not work for patients who may be recovering after a treatment or surgery. These patients may not feel like eating certain foods or the timing of traditional meals does not fit their regular meal schedule.

The restaurant-style model is for those patients who would benefit from bedside assistance. If a patient is appropriate for room service but needs assistance, they will be entered into the system as such and a Blue Sky associate will take the order from the patient before meal time either by calling or visiting the patient directly.

The program is expected to increase patient satisfaction, offer greater choice and flexibility and significantly reduce food waste. While room service is for the patients only, guests and family members can also order a meal through room service for a small fee.

Shannon Merritt reported this story. She can be reached at