Fresh food program at Northern Westchester Hospital

April 13, 2012 1:57:48 PM PDT
A new program at Northern Westchster Hospital allows patients to order fresh meals to their bedside.

Larry Valentine is ordering room service, but not from a hotel, but the hospital where he is recovering from back surgery.

"You kind of wait and anxiety runs high that I'm gonna get the jello," says Valentine.

But at Northern Westchester Hospital, he can choose what he wants to eat, when he wants to eat it.

"You can have breakfast items for dinner or anything that would make you happy," said a nursing aide.

It's part of a new program called "Food is Care".

"We believe food in an integral part of maintaining peoples health. Those that are sick, getting them healthier," said Robert Newborn, Associate Medical Director at Northern Westchester Hospital.

Every phone call with orders goes here to a team of nutrition associates who help guide the patient to make sure the food they're ordering is appropriate for their medical condition.

Then the meal is made fresh to order.

Maria Kale, who used to work in the hotel industry, oversees the process.

"It has to be delivered to the patient within 45 minutes," she said.

The hope is this will be a model for hospitals nationwide but hospital administrators admit it's costing the hospital more money.

"We have not been able to quantify how the costs relate to the hospital or if there is a true return on the investment, but we believe in our hearts that this money is well spent," said Newman.

And when you're in the hospital, the little things can make you feel a lot better like fresh meals delivered to your bedside.

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