BUFFALO, NY — Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has launched a new hotel-style dining program that gives patients a wider range of menu options and more flexibility in what they eat, and when. Called Room Service Dining, the program was designed to meet the needs of cancer patients in particular.
Good nutrition is especially important for those being treated for cancer, as it can minimize the side effects of treatment and speed recovery time, noted Linda Leising, RD, CDN, Senior Clinical Dietitian. And because many common cancer therapies can impact taste or appetite, flexibility in menu choices and meal times can be especially important.
The new Room Service Dining menu features options like Crumb Crusted Cod, Pesto Crusted Chicken Breast, Vegetable, Chicken or Tofu Stir-Fry, Red Beans & Rice and Tri-Roasted Potatoes. It includes numerous breakfast, salad, deli and grill items; soups and side dishes; beverages and liquid items; desserts, many of which have no sugar added; and several low-fat, low-sodium dishes. Orders are placed by phone, made to order and delivered to patient rooms, and can be phoned in remotely by a patient’s loved ones.
“We took a lot of patient input into account in creating this menu — for example, incorporating more chilled items and salads because patients on treatment may want to avoid hot foods,” said Leising. “It’s a balancing act to meet the requirements of the treatment plan, give patients what they need nutritionally and have enough options to appeal to everyone, and this program gives us the flexibility to fulfill all those needs.”
Switching over to the new system involved a kitchen redesign, hiring of additional employees and extensive staff training, said Christina Dibble, Director of Nutrition and Food Services. “The new menu involves a whole new approach to preparing foods, because our cooks are now acting as line cooks, preparing individual meals to order,” she said. “We’re a couple of weeks into the new program now, and the feedback we’re hearing has been so positive. The new choices and flexibility have been a big hit with our patients and families.”
Room Service Dining was funded in part by a generous donation from Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo, Inc. The dining program is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for any patient admitted to Roswell Park, as well as caregivers accompanying or visiting inpatients.
The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email email@example.com.
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