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Northern Westchester Hospital's Food Program Brings Flavor To Recovery

At Northern Westchester Hospital, food truly is care.
At Northern Westchester Hospital, food truly is care. Video Credit: Northern Westchester Hospital

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- The Northern Westchester Hospital's Food Is Care Program is changing the way we think about “hospital food.”

At Northern Westchester Hospital, doctors and staff understand that the food and nourishment that you put into your body after a procedure is an important part of your treatment, just as the medicine you receive. In keeping with the Hospital's philosophy of patient centeredness, the Food Is Care Program gives patients control of what and when they want to eat.

Beginning in 2012, hospital staff began to tackle the challenge of creating healthy and nutritious meals for patients that tasted as good as some of New York's best restaurants. Input from the Hospital’s Patient & Family Advisory Council helped inform staff what patients wanted from food and nutrition. The Hospital retrained all cooking staff at the Culinary Institute of America and turned the kitchens into state-of-the-art facilities. As a result, patient satisfaction with food quality improved, moving from the bottom 25th quartile to the 90th percentile and has remained in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide.

“Having a partnership between nursing and food service truly makes food and nutrition an integral part of the patient’s treatment and education," said Lauraine Szekely, Chief Nursing Office at NWH. "This program is a dream come true.” 

Today, patients order room service -- just like in a hotel. They receive cooked-to-order meals delivered to their bedside in under 45 minutes, with an array of herbs and seasonings grown on-site. The hot food is served hot and the cold food is served cold.

As one patient put it, "I loved being able to select meals that I could get in a restaurant and pick the time I want to eat. And having conversations with educated staff about healthy nutrition has really helped me as a newly diagnosed diabetic.”

Northern Westchester Hospital is making patients question, "This is hospital food?” 

Watch the video above to learn more about how Northern Westchester Hospital is cooking up for patients. 

Visit the Center for Patient-Centered Innovation to learn about other patient-focused programs developed and tested at NWH.