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Food is love at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital

BHMH’s Dietary Department staff knows their work is all part of the patient experience. Pictured left to right: Barb Haskell (Manager), Laura Mae Lymburner, Vicki Atherton, Robbie Shorey, Dede SylvesterSometimes, the food served in hospitals can get a bad rap. Not at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital (BHMH). The BHMH Dietary Department considers the job of providing healthful and delicious food as an opportunity to enhance the care patients and their families receive while at the hospital. In fact, according to recent patient surveys, the hospital’s quality of meals ranks among the top four percent in the country. In an effort to help their patients during care transitions, BHMH has recently cooked up two programs they hope will heighten the patient experience.

The hospital’s transitional level of care (TLC) or Swing Bed services are designed to promote rapid and lasting recovery after a stroke, surgery, major illness, or an accident. The goal is to enable patients to return home as soon as possible. Part of this recovery includes the new TLC Lunch Bunch program. Patients who are well enough can enjoy a special lunch, served restaurant-style, outside of their room setting. They dine with therapists, providers, administration, and family members with an added benefit of practicing the skills needed to live on their own. This change of scenery offers patients a bit of real-world normalcy, including lively conversation and interaction with a diverse group of tablemates!

A farewell treat bag is sent home with TLC patients.Once it’s time to go home, TLC patients now receive a homemade “to-go” treat at discharge, courtesy of the dietary staff, along with their customary written care instructions and prescriptions. “We feel that we are an important part of the care team for our patients,” explains Barb Haskell, BHMH dietary manager. “We know that quality, healthy food is critical to our patient’s recovery and wellness. It’s wonderful to get to know each patient, including their allergies, likes and dislikes; we listen to what they have to say. It brings us great satisfaction when we can deliver on a specific request.”