Automate and Educate

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals is a healthcare system headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska with a new location in Omaha opened in October 2016. Jennifer Luhn, Madonna’s Director of Nutrition, and Erin Wolf, Diet Office Supervisor, shared their experience of implementing CBORD technology and discussed how it helped them meet the challenge of feeding a diverse patient population across both sites.

"Our patients have complex nutrient goals and our aim is to educate patients about their diet orders," said Erin. "CBORD systems let us help the patients work within the menu they are offered, and explain the reasons for any dietary restrictions they may have." In addition, automating foodservice operations made them so efficient, Madonna was able to cut the time between placing a meal order and meal deliveries in half.

After visiting facilities throughout Nebraska and Iowa to learn how other hospitals and rehabilitation centers run their operations, Madonna decided to implement Room Service Choice® and Nutrition Service Suite® for both locations.

A Nutrition System to Suit All Needs

Rehabilitation hospitals are unique; they provide many treatments of an acute care facility while accommodating long-term care patients through months of physical and occupational therapy. Madonna specializes in treatment for spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, stokes, and pediatric rehabilitation services.

Jennifer and Erin were tasked with finding a nutrition system to suit all of their needs. Not only are the clinical dietary conditions for this diverse patient population complex, but the new meal system would need to handle operations at both sites and be fully installed at the Omaha clinic when it opened.

If a patient requires adaptive accessories for eating such as plate guards or special utensils, these items are integrated into meal orders.

Meeting the physical needs of rehabilitation patients had to be incorporated into the meal ordering system. Physical and occupational therapists are able to add their notes to meal orders to assist the nutritional intake of patients with limited mobility and movement. If a patient requires adaptive accessories for eating such as plate guards or special utensils, these items are integrated into meal orders so everything is delivered to the patient along with their meal.

Shifting Labor from Data Entry to Patient Care

Madonna’s hospitals operate a traditional tray line and meals are delivered to patients’ rooms. Before migrating to Room Service Choice, meal orders were taken two days in advance and patients relied on paper menus. Orders then had to be entered manually for each individual tray ticket. This labor-intensive process was very frustrating.

“The paper menus felt like a comical game,” Jennifer remembers. “Patients and staff had to figure out acronyms and colors that didn’t always make sense.”

Patients became irritated with the complicated menus. Nutrition techs struggled with explanations about diet restrictions. Room Service Choice has eased many of these frustrations. Now, patients interact directly with the Nutrition tech taking bedside meal orders on a laptop who can immediately explain any diet restriction questions and help patients place orders without confusion.

Automating the system made foodservice operations at Madonna so efficient they were able to cut the time between placing a meal order and meal deliveries in half.

“Room Service Choice has allowed us to redistribute the labor of the nutritional staff from data entry to patient care and satisfaction,” said Jennifer. Automating the system made foodservice operations at Madonna so efficient they were able to cut the time between placing a meal order and meal deliveries in half. Nutrition techs are able to be more active providing quality care. Likewise, patients are more satisfied with their meals. Fewer trays are sent back to the kitchen and the hospital has significantly reduced its waste.

A Seamless Implementation

While the Omaha location was under construction, Jennifer and Erin began the implementation process at Madonna’s Lincoln facility in June 2016. They had time to acclimate to the new procedures before the Omaha clinic opened in October, and they were ready on day one.

The system made it so easy. We had everything we needed waiting for patients the day they got there.

The system was able to track patient meal preferences and take diet orders while patients and staff prepared for the move to the Omaha location. Rehabilitation patients sometimes receive treatment for weeks or months; maintaining records of their meal preferences goes a long way to providing comfort so they can focus on recovery. For example, if a patient takes sugar in their coffee but no cream, the system retains that information.

"We were able to go in to the hospital in Bellevue with laptops and take patient orders for the next day. When we opened the new hospital in Omaha and moved those patients it was a seamless process to transfer all of the orders we collected," said Jennifer. "The system made it so easy. We had everything we needed waiting for patients the day they got there. That was fantastic."

The patients and employees at Madonna enjoyed the beneficial results delivered by CBORD's dedicated and experienced Implementation Team. They can do the same for your hospital.