Monday, November 2, 2015

A Day in the Diet Office

The diet office of a food service establishment, especially at a large facility like a hospital, can be the brains of the kitchen operations as well as a dietitians best friend. During my first week of clinical rotations at Baltimore Washington Medical Center, I got to spend the day in the diet office to see how meal selection, tray line, and meal delivery works.

At the ripe hour of 6am, I reported to the diet office to meet one of the dietary aides. I observed as she input any last minute meal selections and printed food prep sheets for the cooks and kitchen staff. Then before you knew it, it was 7:30am, breakfast time!

I strapped on my hairnet and joined one of the hostesses to deliver breakfast. The main meal was french toast and syrup, unfortunately not a fan favorite that I thought it would be. As we made our rounds I quickly found how happy the patients were to see the hostess and her cart. For patients that needed some help feeding, the hostess would open containers, cut up the food, and place the tray above the bed. If additional feeding support was needed the hostess would let the nurse or tech know that breakfast had been delivered. Another job of a hostess is to stock the nourishment rooms that have a refrigerator stocked with jell-o's, puddings, beverages, and other snack items patients might ask for.

All meal ordering is done using iPads at BWMC. Dependent on their diet restrictions, patients are able to choose the main meal offered daily, or make modifications of their own. Although a hospital is not a hotel per say- it is a priority for patients to eat, and for the most part enjoy what they are eating. So it is often recommended if a patient finds something on the menu, or something the kitchen offers as an alternative, let the host or hostess know and they can continue to send them that meal.

Weeks following my day in the diet office, the RD's and I continued to keep close contact with the diet office. Whether it be calling the dietary aide for a snack to be delivered to a patient's room, updating food preferences obtained during a consult, or asking if hot dogs are able to be pureed!

If you do get the chance during a clinical rotation, I would highly recommend spending some time in the kitchen, diet office, or on the floor delivering meals.

1 comment:

  1. Great job - we would not be effective in any clinical setting were it not for our dedicated diet offices.