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Published on December 14, 2009

Overlake Launches Seasons Dining Room Service

Bellevue, WA (December 14, 2009) – Overlake Hospital Medical Center is rewriting the recipe book on hospital food—and patients are pleased with the results. Overlake introduced patients to a new Seasons Dining room service program this month, featuring restaurant-quality food and hotel-style service. Overlake launched the program to address the overall health needs of patients as well as enhance the experience for those who undergo a hospital stay.

One of the most important ways room service improves patient meals is by providing patients more control over their food. With made-to-order meals, they now have more choices about what to eat, how much to eat and when.

“Providing patients control over their meals is important during a hospital stay when people often feel vulnerable, anxious and dependent on others. Food is also a major comfort factor that soothes us and makes us feel good,” said Dianna Reely, Vice President of Patient Experience at Overlake. “We believe it adds to the patient’s feeling of wellness to order foods they know they enjoy, and on a schedule that best suits them.”

Physicians agree this type of program can lead to quicker recovery times and improved nutritional intake. Because patients order food based on their individual preferences, they tend to eat better, recover faster and ultimately go home faster.

The program started by developing all-new dining options using the highest-quality ingredients, organic produce and locally sourced foods whenever possible. Overlake Executive Chef Christopher Linaman, who had earlier food service experience with some of Seattle’s finest restaurants, including The Space Needle and The Hunt Club at The Sorrento Hotel, worked with Program Manager Melanie Gonzales and the entire dietary staff to develop menus that are distinctive and healthful. They include offerings like “small plates” featuring assorted artisan cheeses and fruit or Mediterranean snacks. The range of entrees includes Grilled Salmon with an Apple-Cider Reduction, Gaucho Flat Iron Steak Salad, Osso Bucco-Style Pork Shanks and some traditional comfort favorites like Macaroni and Cheese, Classic Meatloaf and Flatbread Pizza.

It was important the food options also reflect the cultural diversity of the region with more ethnic options, more vegetarian options and more “build your own” options for omelets and sandwiches. Patients will find many appetizing choices such as Thai Salad with shrimp, chicken or tofu, Grilled Vegetable Stack with lentils and red pepper sauce as well as seasonal menu items like Penne Pasta with roasted winter vegetables and Tika Masala with jasmine rice and naan.

A Room Service Attendant visits patients to present a menu specific to the diet ordered by their physician. More than 70 percent of patients order from the 12-page ‘Regular’ menu, while other menus address different dietary needs such as Heart Healthy, Low-Sodium, Comfort/Low Fiber and Liquid diets. The patient can call Room Service from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily to place their order. The food is prepared fresh and delivered directly to the patient’s bedside in 45 minutes or less.

Patients also receive important education about their diet and learn how to make healthy food choices and sometimes alter their diet to improve their health. Room Service Attendants along with nurses offer important diet education, using the menu as a tool to help evaluate and direct food selections and an appropriate eating schedule.

Patients are encouraged to take menus home and use them as a guide to meal preparation and healthy eating after they leave the hospital. Each menu includes a diet description that outlines the desired food options and why they are recommended. Carbohydrate grams are listed on all menus to help diabetic patients balance meal choices throughout the day.

To launch the program, Overlake invested approximately $400,000 that included remodeling the hospital’s central kitchen production line and installing an on-site call center. Hospitality Dining Services experienced a department-wide staffing reallocation, including the addition of new positions such as sauté cooks, room service attendants and call center representatives.

Room Service Media Availability
On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Overlake invites the media to tour Seasons Dining Room Service operations and sample some of the new menu items. Tour highlights and photo/filming opportunities include: Chef Linaman at the grill, the call center in action, and room service delivery to hospital patients.

Interview Opportunities: Head Chef Chris Linaman, Overlake Vice President of Patient Experience Dianna Reely and selected Overlake patients will be available to talk about the new program and answer your questions.

Overlake Hospital Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax supported regional medical center. Overlake offers a comprehensive range of services including cardiac care, cancer care, general and specialty surgery, women’s programs, senior care, and the only Level III trauma service on the Eastside. For more information, log on to