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Healthwise: Spoken Menu

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

June 30, 2010

Patients at Martha Jefferson Hospital are now offered a "spoken menu."

A dietary aide goes room to room at the hospital to take the order bedside and in person.

"The people who work in our department have enjoyed doing it more as they have gotten to speak more with the patients and build relationships," nutrition services coordinator Dave Stebbins said.

This replaces the old system, when a patient would have to fill out a form. Now, the aides use automated tablets.

"In general, they like the fact that they have a choice," Stebbins said. "It made our food scores go up, and we haven't changed the food because patients are now getting what they want versus what we send them."

The system can remember likes and dislikes, and it also tracks medical needs.

"It's helped to increase patient safety because we can now track allergies, likes and dislikes through the computer system, so they are automatically not offered foods that might harm them," Stebbins said.

Taking the dining orders in person not only results in happier meals, but it also allows for friendly interaction between hospital staff and patients -- which soothes a hunger, as well.


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