The Temiskaming Hospital will reopen its cafeteria in September 2018, following its closure back in January 2015.
A business plan was presented to and approved by the Board of Director’s at their May 22nd Board Meeting.
The plan will see the cafeteria return to its previous operating schedule - open Monday to Friday from 7:15 a.m. until 2:15 p.m, with breakfast and lunch services. The difference will be that after hours and on weekends, fresh, high quality food will be available in refrigerated vending machines that can be reheated in microwaves in the cafeteria. Hot and cold beverages will also be available as well.
“A cafeteria plays an important role in the services we provide as a hospital to staff, patients and their families.” stated Mike Baker, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Temiskaming Hospital, “It is the number one complaint we receive in both written and verbal media, including social media, even over emergency room wait times”.
The Hospital has spent several months developing the business plan, including conducting surveys of staff and physicians to determine the affordability of the program. The survey was an overwhelming success with high levels of participation and provided detailed feedback on food preferences and pricing options. Patient input was received through surveys of several areas of the hospital, including those in the Emergency Room.
Fortunately, although some of the required equipment had been sold, some of the past equipment is in storage and will reduce the amount of capital required to restart the cafeteria.
“Our focus will be on expanding the healthy foods program we have with our inpatients, to staff, outpatients and visitors.” explained Erin Montgomery, Chief Nursing Executive and Director of Patient Services. “We will be increasing the emphasis on healthy options for both food and beverages.”
The location of the hospital plays a significant factor in the concerns of patients and their families. There are no food services around the hospital making family members travel quite a distance to get a cup of coffee or a nutritious snack, especially outside the operating hours of the Gift Shop. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, leaving the hospital for that long of a duration is just not an option for family members.
“We would like to thank our Auxiliary for their work in providing gift and food options for patients and their families.” Montgomery stated. “They continue to be an important partner with the hospital and I encourage people to check out their gift shop.”
“I would also like to thank our team for the innovative work that has been done to address this significant concern of staff, patients and their families.” Baker stated. “It is another sign to the community that the Hospital is making decisions with patients placed at the center of the equation and is finding innovative ways to deal with barriers.”
The actual start-up date will be announced in late summer.