Room service is coming to a hospital bed near you. The Lake of the Woods District Hospital is introducing a brand new food program called Room Service.

Manager of the Nutrition and Food Services, Jodi Saarinen explains.

"So Room Service is an innovative way of patient meal deliveries in our hospital. We are providing patients with a menu that is selective to their diet and allowing them the opportunity to call the kitchen and place their orders anytime between 7:30 in the morning and 6:00 o'clock at night," she said.

Saarinen says right now their patient satisfaction for food is at about 70 per cent. They're hoping to bring it into the 90s with the new program. They're also hoping to improve on their food waste.

"We currently have about a 40 per cent food waste. That is extremely high but it's very common in hospitals. We have phenomenal chefs on our staff. They're all red seal. They create these beautiful meals and unfortunately we put them on a tray and deliver them up and they can sometimes sit there for upwards of half an hour," she said.

Food on the menu includes things like pancakes and cheese omelets for breakfast, roast beef sandwiches or chicken noodle soup for lunch and chicken breast or herb baked fish for dinner. Saving on food waste will also help the hospital save money.

Saarinen was introduced to the program at a hospital in Oakville. She said as soon as she saw it she new it was a perfect fit for Kenora. The local hospital will be one of only a handful of hospitals in all of Canada to introduce the system.

At first it drew concerns about an extra workload for the chefs. However, Saarinen pointed out that they won't actually be making any additional food. Most of it they'll make from scratch in advance and have ready to be put together for when someone orders. She says it will also help with the workload when it comes to dishes.

"We have some staff that have repetitive stress injuries and we believe it's directly related to dish room injuries. They are in there for upwards of an hour to an hour and a half. It's extremely hot in there and they're doing repetitive motions. With Room Service the dishes will be staggered, the likelihood of them being in the dish room for more than 15 minutes at a time will be low," she said.

Patients will be allowed to order at any time during the day. If they miss a meal they will be reminded by the clerk or nutritionist. The menus will also be form-fitted to each patient because they may have specific dietary needs.

Saarinen says pretty much every patient in the hospital will apply for the service except those in the emergency room because the turn around time is simply too quick.

The program rolls out on Monday.  

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