News and Stories from the Texas Medical Community


Seton Northwest Hospital Stirs Up Recipe for Food Service Success

By on December 1, 2013 in Featured, Health News Texas, Patient Care with 0 Comments

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Ask any hospital patient, no matter how ill, what they liked least about their hospitalization and the response is inevitable – “the food.” Compound bland food delivered to the wrong patient, and you have a receipe for disaster.

Rose Marie Lallo at Seton Northwest Hospital recovering from pneumonia.

Shortly after moving to Austin from Topeka, KS, Rose Marie Lallo, 81, was hospitalized twice with pneumonia that required more than two weeks at Seton Northwest Hospital. During her two stays at the hospital, an antiquated food delivery system resulted in her receiving food prepared for the diet and taste of the previous occupant of her room.

“The floor staff of Seton Northwest was wonderful,” Lallo said about her stays. “As many times as nurses tried, they could not get food services to get meals correct, delivered on-time or even with my correct name on the tray. It wasn’t until the last three days of my second stay that trays with my correct name started arriving at the room.”

“The trouble that Mrs. Lallo experienced with the food services at Seton Northwest was brought to my attention,” explained Sodexo’s Scott Carlisle, director of support services for the Seton Family of Hospitals. “I immediately looked into the problem and found that we had a number of food service issues that needed to be addressed to improve the hospital stay of patients.”

Former Seton Northwest patient, Rose Marie Lallo is escorted on a tour of newly revamped food service system at the hospital. Showing her the food preparation area are (l-r); Yamile Garib, food service technical support for the Seton Family of Hospitals, Scott Carlisle, director of support the Seton Family of Hospitals, former patient Rose Marie Lallo and Monica Milonovich, clinical nutritional co-ordinator for the Seton Family of Hospitals.

Now, food services at Seton Northwest is using a new computer program to properly identify patients and their dietary needs. They’ve also adopted new menus with tastier freshly prepared food and personalized the system with patient visits by a food service staffer upon admission.

Going beyond the identified problem, Scott Carlisle saw an opportunity to take the initiative and turn a negative into a positive by inviting Mrs. Lallo back to the hospital a year later to view the improvements. Carlisle, along with his staff, took time to sit down with her to explain how her situation had prompted a number of vast improvements in the food service system that will benefit all future patients.

Dynamic online newsrooms are the one way for a company to tell stories similar to that of Mrs. Lallo. An online newsroom can give a voice to your brand’s customers, proving your brand listens and takes action when problems arise. It also can provide recognition to problem-solving employees. A company that is willing to admit is has a problem, shows how it is tackling the solution and gives a personal face to the problem can turn a negative situation into a positive.

When Rose Marie Lallo left Seton Northwest Hospital she was on the mend from her pneumonia. Stories of her illness will be a topic of conversation till the day she dies; each time the story is told it will include how “bad the hospital food was during her stay, and how they couldn’t get the right tray with her name delivered to her room.” If not for the action and foresight of Scott Carlyle the story would have ended there; now it ends with a punch line….“you know they got that problem fixed so it won’t happen the next time I have to go to the hospital – God forbid!”

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