Friday, October 29, 2010

More of My Favorite Things

Recently, I spent an hour in our nutrition services department. I got a first-hand view of what it takes to keep our patients fed while following doctors' orders and doing our best to make the food tasty.

It is no secret. Food simply tastes better when we are not sick and when we can eat what we want, not what is prescribed. This team has its "plate full" when cooking for our patients, staff, and visitors.

I previously wrote about "The Big Three" last year. Patients use three important factors to evaluate their inpatient experience. How does the food taste? How clean is the place? And, did people treat me with care and respect? Often, patients are not able to judge the true clinical quality of their treatment. But the reality is all three of these areas involve something we judge everyday in our walk on this earth and that makes us experts in these areas. We transfer our judgments about overall quality using these three proxies.
Our nutrition services staff know they get judged at each and every meal on how their food tastes, if it is the right temperature, and if people have a choice in what they eat. It may not matter to the patient if the additional goal is for the meal to be healthy, meets the physician's requirements given the illness that brought them to our doors, or fits into the daily routine of our patients. Despite that rock and hard place, I am proud to report that our team gets plenty of compliments about their food.
"I can't believe it was 'hospital' food!"
"The parents' OB celebration meal was amazing."
"I loved having choices from the room service menu."
These are just a sample of the comments from our patient satisfaction surveys.
The nutrition services department also serves hundreds of meals everyday to our hospital team members and visitors in the cafeteria and Neon Cafe. This is no easy task given the variety of tastes and nutritional needs of our staff members.
We have been making a special effort to eat healthier lately. This is a real balancing act. Preparing food that is tasty and nutritious takes good culinary skills. My hats off to our team for their daily dedication to feed the crowd and keep them coming back for more! I am excited about the ideas from our nutrition services team to keep improving.
Thank you for your efforts!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

School Bus Tips Over – GRMC Kicks Into Action

Last week a school bus tipped over in Searsboro, 11 miles south of Grinnell, with 19 students and a bus driver on board. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. That sort of call from emergency responders does get a hospital revved into its highest gear. The driver and one student were transported by ambulance to GRMC with minor injuries. Of course the ER was ready and easily cared for both patients.

We anticipated the other 18 students would also be coming to the hospital to get checked out and so the disaster alert was put out and we were ready with extra personnel, juice boxes, and space for parents and friends. We waited and no one came. We called the school and found out that most of the students were picked up at the scene by parents and taken to the Lynnville/Sully school before any officials from the school ever arrived. Another bus took the remaining students to the school.

In a conversation with the superintendent, it was decided rather than get the students stressed from getting back on a bus and coming to GRMC, we would bring GRMC to the children. I loaded up my Buick with our ER Physician, Dr. John Bambara; two nurses, Terri Kelling and Doris Rindels; and a social worker, Linda Romero, and off we went. Dr. Ryan Dahlby Albright generously volunteered on his day off to take charge of the ER while we were gone.

We set up a triage center in a gathering room near the main entrance and with the school’s assistance called all the parents asking for permission to evaluate each of their children. Each child, ranging in grades from kindergarten through high school, filed in and was thoroughly screened. Most were totally uninjured, while a few had minor bumps and scrapes. One child was referred back to the hospital for further evaluation.

I enjoyed talking to each of the children about their unexpected topsy-turvy ride that morning and leaned that they had just practiced their “bus escape” drill earlier that week. One little tike told me the big kids helped the little kids out the back door. He said, “we kind of slid down the open door…it was fun!” Kids are so resilient.

The superintendent was great to work with and thanked us over and over again for coming to the school. I was sure glad no one was seriously injured!

This event brought a slightly new twist to our slogan: “We are here for you when you need us”…in this case: “We are ‘there’ for you when you need us”!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

2010 Women's Health Focus & Baby Fair

GRMC and the GRMC Auxiliary hosted more than 400 attendees at the 2010 women's health focus and baby fair. Guests had the opportunity to visit educational booths, shop with local vendors, eat a fabulous buffet dinner, and enjoy a presentation by Colette Carlson.

Below are some photos from the event.

Guests were able to gather valuable information
and goodies from the educational booths.

Guests were able to start their holiday
shopping early at the MarketPlace.

The massage therapists from Postels Community Health Park relaxed
guests with paraffin hand treatments and chair massages.

Colette Carlson taught us to stress less, and laugh more. Above is
guest Leila Maring learning how to balance life's responsibilities.