Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas, is a 155-bed acute-care facility that has seen in-patient daily census counts dip from around 145 to around 80 after voluntary and non-critical procedures were halted or restricted in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
Dining services at Menorah is managed by Morrison Healthcare, which operates a retail cafeteria that remains open to staff, as well as patient dining, which is operated on Morrison’s Dining On Call room service-style platform.
Food Management spoke with Maurice Schofield, patient services manager, in mid-April about the impact of coronavirus on dining operations at Menorah and here is his story:
“One of the things I’ve noticed since COVID has taken place is just the morale, the support from the community. We’ve been receiving a lot of donations from local restaurants, that’s something I’ve never seen happen before.
One thing we’re doing is having a mini market for our clients here because we still have a lot of medical professionals who are reporting for work to take care of the needs of the patients. The market operates out of the cafeteria. We have a nice spreadsheet from which they can select items. We deliver things on Wednesday. Everything’s packaged for them.
We started with basic things they can grab that we have in-house like toilet paper, things they may not be able to get in the store. And we give them a great discount and great support so they don’t have to rush to Wal-Mart after work just to find that they don’t have these things. It’s something that’s been going great!
We’re trying to get back up to a full staff and have been able to spread the associates around to different departments, so if the nursing team is short one day then we can help them serve. In the food department, meanwhile, we’ve been pretty OK with cutting hours here and there if we need to, but it’s been pretty steady so far.
One change in the menu is that at the deli bar, where we’re now packaging different sandwiches each day and have it wrapped for people to grab and go. But that’s really the only [menu] change we’ve made in the café.
Our patient meal program uses a dial-in call service. Patients have a menu in their room, and they call us for breakfast, lunch and dinner to place their order. The system lets us know their diets and any restrictions they may have. It’s a 45-minute window that we give them. With COVID patients, we use Styrofoam plates and disposable utensils and transfer [the meals] to the nursing staff. Then, they’re the ones who distribute it out.”
As told to Mike Buzalka on April 13.