Editor’s note: This is an installment in an occasional series highlighting the work of the Facilities Services Division.
Nineteen patients. Nineteen different lunch orders. And, Sodexo Food Ambassador Felande Ross got each one right.
Patient A ordered a side salad instead of macaroni and cheese. Patient B ordered grapes instead of vegetables. Patient C ordered a cheeseburger instead of Caesar chicken, the featured lunch entrée that day. Patient D was on a strict high protein diet. And so on.
Ross, who has worked as a food ambassador at Augusta University Medical Center for one year, bustled around the kitchen, grabbing plates from the food line; cookies, single-serve containers of salad and fruit from the cooler and cold prep station; and ice cream from the freezer.
Nineteen tickets corresponded to the lunch trays he assembled for patients that day. Earlier that day, hospital patients placed their lunch orders using the medical center’s automated digital system, HealthTouch, with their unit’s assigned Food Ambassador. Ross is assigned to 4C, 4E and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU.
A pre-printed bedside menu is provided for the patient to review daily, and all-time favorites like hamburgers and chicken fingers are available as alternate choices. This personal dining experience gives the patient the power of choice.
Once each tray was assembled individually, Ross then scanned each ticket before leaving the kitchen. The timer began ticking then, counting the minutes it took for Ross to get the trays from the kitchen to bedside. HealthTouch tracks and validates meal progress from order, prep, assembly and delivery.
The goal is to deliver the tray to the patient within 17 minutes of it leaving the kitchen.
Ross scanned the ticket for each tray before it was delivered to the patient, knocking politely on the door and announcing, “Food and Nutrition.” Every Food Ambassador has direct contact with patients multiple times a day, establishing a rapport between themselves, nursing and patients.
Ross can attest to that.
“The best part of my job is interacting with patients,” he said.
That day, Food and Nutrition prepared meals for a total of 260 patients, which included 50 pounds of chicken breasts; 40 pounds of vegetables; 65 pounds of macaroni and cheese; 28 pounds of sauces and gravy; and 35 pounds of other items like a la carte items.