Baptist Health Floyd Care Cuisine program stands alone in area and receives rave reviews

June 18, 2021

Program changed the perception people have about hospital food.

NEW ALBANY – There are many reasons for choosing a hospital. Reputation and its ability to provide exceptional care are at the top of the list.

The hospital’s location is important and the patient’s doctor may make a recommendation based on their diagnosis.

However, never underestimate the importance of the hospital’s food, both in quality and selection, as playing an important role in the choice.

Baptist Health Floyd’s Food and Nutrition Services changed the perception people have about hospital food five years ago when it developed the Care Cuisine program. Patients now can order off a restaurant style menu and have their food prepared and delivered to them when they want it. No longer are all the meals with limited selection delivered at the same time at Baptist Health Floyd.

“We wanted to change it to where people say, ‘If I have to choose a hospital I want to go to Baptist Health Floyd because of the food.’ That is important because the competition for hospitals is so great and that is the one thing you can differentiate yourself from other hospitals,” said Lisa Shoopman, system director of hospitality services for Baptist Health.  

Before starting her new role last year, Shoopman was director of the Food and Nutrition Services at Baptist Health Floyd and with the help of her team, was responsible for bringing Care Cuisine to the hospital five years ago. The program is still going strong today.

Not only do patients have multiple food choices to choose from, they can have it delivered when they want it within the kitchen’s operating hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They may choose to eat breakfast at 9 a.m. instead of 7. Or maybe they want to have a late dinner due to afternoon tests. It does not matter, they make that decision.

“I think it is a patient centered service and It can put a spotlight on your facility,” said Heather Shrum, the current director of Food & Nutrition Services at Baptist Health Floyd. “It is way more efficient and patient centered and less wasteful. We are being a good steward of our patients and program because we are not buying more product than we need.”

The food is also prepared just for the patient. Just because they may want breakfast later than the majority of patients does not mean their food will be cold when they receive it. It is made to order.

“Traditionally hospitals produce trays for patients ... one unit of the hospital will get their tray at a certain time,” Shoopman said. “Today’s population want to eat when they want to eat. This really improves the patient experience.”

Baptist Health Floyd is the only hospital in the Louisville area to offer a true cook to order room service program, but Shoopman said several hospitals nationally offer it. She hopes to introduce it to the other eight Baptist Health hospitals in the future. The menus, 10 in total, are vast and are built to handle all nutritional needs and restrictions.  

“We aren’t just serving the food when the patient wants it, but we are cooking the food to order restaurant style,” Shoopman said. “When you place your order then we are making the promise we will deliver your tray within 45 minutes. Cooks are making the food to order. You are not receiving cold or poor quality food.”

Anne Phillips, system director for clinical nutrition for Baptist Health, was the project manager for the Care Cuisine program at Baptist Health Floyd five years ago.

“They had worked to get it going and I was hired to implement the program,” she said.

All the procedures, training manuals and menus were designed in-house, Phillips said. She said it took six to eight months to get everything ready to launch the Care Cuisine program.

“The majority of what you see today was there on day one,” she said. “CBORD, where we got our technology for the program, had representatives there for support the first few days and they said it was one of the smoothest go-lives they had ever experienced. I am proud of that. We literally changed everyone’s job in the kitchen overnight.”

Not only does the service make patients happy, it also saves the hospital money. Shoopman said in the first year of the program she saved 20 percent on food costs. She said there is less food waste because people are eating their meals when they want them and trays are not just randomly delivered even when the patient is not in the room.

“It’s a benefit for hospitals to have a room service program. Food is very important to the overall experience of the patient,” Shoopman said. “Patients may not understand the other aspects of their care, but every patient understands food. We want to create that memorable food experience for our patients and with Care Cuisine food service we can do that.”

Shoopman said the program is efficient. While it may take additional employees to provide the service, there is less food and supply costs. She also said renovating the Baptist Health Floyd kitchen five years ago was key to moving forward with the program.

“It does take a lot of work, a lot of planning,” she said. “It’s not something you can do easily, but it’s worth it in the end. The hospital services who have implemented it will never go back to the traditional way.”

It is all about making the hospital experience better in every fashion for the patient.

“This is patient centered and aligns with our Baptist mission,” Shoopman said. “The focus is what is best for patients, not what is easier for us.”

The proof is in patient satisfaction, and Shoopman said she has not heard anything negative about the program. It has all been positive.

“This has gotten out in the community … community members are talking about how positive their meal experience was at Baptist Health Floyd,” she said. “My mother is in a quilting group and a woman in the group had been in the hospital and they were talking about how great the food was at Baptist Floyd. We are where we need to be.”

Shrum said she gets several positive emails from patients each week. One of the emails said: “Five on food and five on service. Everything has been really good. I slept in this morning and was able to order breakfast later which I really liked.” Another stated: “You serve good, healthy food and should open a carryout for patients who want to eat your food after discharge.”

Shrum said it does take hard work, but added her staff of 100 is up to the challenge each and every day.

“I have a great staff and the food is really good. I feel completely blessed,” she said. “I know it’s a team effort. I am very gracious to have such a good food service team.”

With the technology available, if a patient tries to order something they are not supposed to eat, the hand-held iPad the food ambassadors use to take the order will not let them enter that selection.

Alyse Scavone is one of the room service ambassadors. Not only does she take orders from patients, she also delivers their food. She does it all with a smile and a kind word. Her morning shift begins at 6:30 a.m. when she starts taking orders.

“Most of the patients know what they want, but I help them put their order together,” she said. “I love working with the patients and the people I work with. We all work well together.”

Phillips said the program operates like a “well-oiled machine.”

“I am really proud of the program,” Phillips said. “Floyd did it all. It’s a solid program.”