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Nov 9, 2018
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New York

NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital launched Room Service this weekend, a new dining program offering carefully curated fresh meals that are made to order upon request. The program empowers patients to take control of what they eat and when they eat, and the new menu items reflect the cultural diversity of the patient population.

“A lot can be out of a patient’s control when they stay in a hospital,” said Juan Mejia, senior vice president and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. “Room Service gives our patients the ability to order meals when they are hungry or want to dine with their visitors. We recognize the comfort that food can provide during the healing process. By offering a wide range of fresh, healthy foods on demand, we aim to improve the quality of their entire stay.”

The menu items were developed by a team of clinical nutritionists, physicians, and chefs and incorporated feedback from patients and caregivers. For the menu at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, the team considered the large Asian population in the community and added staples such as congee (a Chinese rice porridge), a vegan noodle bowl with rice noodles and tofu, beef and vegetable stir fry, and chicken and salmon with homemade teriyaki sauce. Menu items are available in full or half portions.

When patients are admitted, their doctor will order a diet that takes into account food preferences, allergies, and other health considerations. A nutrition assistant will give the patient a menu that offers options that are tailored to his or her dietary needs and help them, or a caregiver, place the order. Once placed, the meal will be delivered within 45 minutes. Room Service is available between 6:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.

By preparing meals to order and offering half portions, Room Service is expected to reduce the hospital’s food waste by nearly 30 percent. The introduction of reusable silverware and an emphasis on a plant-based diet will further reduce the hospital’s carbon footprint. Room Service is currently available at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital and will expand to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in early 2019.

“We believe that Room Service will improve the patient experience,” said Roydell Weeks, vice president of support services at NewYork-Presbyterian. “The menu reflects how we listened to patients, their caregivers and their families to implement a dining program that elevates not only the quality of the food we offer, but also maximizes the nutritional value of meals and promotes our patients’ overall well-being.”

The new Room Service menu also includes a whole food plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains and includes a limited amount of healthful fats such as olive, nut and seed-based oils.

“Plant-based foods are fiber-rich, nutrient dense and are naturally lower in calories than many animal-based food products,” said Louise Merriman, administrative director of clinical nutrition at NewYork-Presbyterian. “That means they are good for people and for the environment.”

Studies have shown that following a plant-based diet helps lower cholesterol levels and may be associated with lower risks of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, obesity, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

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