Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:52 PM

Hotel meals and room service come to Clovis hospital

For most patients, hospital food is something to avoid. The cafeteria setting mixed with food lacking taste is reason enough to keep healthy. However, Clovis Community Medical Center is changing the way patients think about their hospital meals.

Starting Wednesday, Nov.  17, Clovis Community has a “room service” method for patient meals called “Cuisine on Call.” The new nutrition program features a restaurant-style menu and flexible meal times.  Cuisine on Call is an effort to improve patient health and satisfaction.

“The whole point is to do our part to help the patients heal,” said Paul Luchi, director of Nutrition & Dining Services. “Food helps. Now, they can order what they want which means they are more likely to eat it, which makes them happy and satisfied while getting the nutrients they need.”

 Before Cuisine on call was implemented, all patients received the same meals, which were served at 7 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. regardless of when the patient was ready.  Now, room service is offered between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Patients are allowed to order by phone at any point during this period, so they are able to eat when they are hungry. To ensure patients are still eating three meals a day, the orders are monitored by nutrition and nursing staff. If a patient does not call for a meal, they are called by a nutrition care clerk who asks if they would like to order something.

On top of having more freedom to eat when they want, patients have more choices than ever before.  For breakfast, patients can order anything from pancakes, sausage and eggs to toast and coffee.  For lunch and dinner, they can choose from charbroiled salmon to New York steak or stir-fry. Patients can even order milkshakes if their diet allows.

At the beginning of their stay each patient speaks with a physician who creates an individualized diet plan for them. If a patient’s diet needs to be restricted or specialized, the kitchen accounts for that, modifying recipes or suggesting alternative choices. Once the meal is prepared the kitchen expediter reviews the meal for accuracy, appearance, temperature, quality and compliance with the patient’s diet.

From the hospital’s standpoint, operations are the same as before.  The nurses and staff are doing the same amount of work prior to the change, but “we’re just kicking it up a notch for our patients,” Luchi said.

Clovis Community is one of a few select hospitals offering this service in central California and hospital staff has big hopes for the unique program.  “It makes the patients happy because they get a choice and their food is made just for them,” Luchi said.

Katie Whitney reported this story. She can be reached at