Hospital Serves Up Room Service To Patients

Patients Can Order Off Menu Any Time Of Day

Would you believe hospitals are becoming more like hotels these days?

It's hard to imagine, but at some hospitals the hotel atmosphere begins as soon as you enter the building. And now there's even room service.

It's like any other lobby you would find in a major hotel chain. There's classical music, beautiful furnishings and surroundings and room service.

But it isn't a hotel; it's the intermediate care wing at University of California, San Diego's Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

Every patient in the hospital can order room service meals, snacks or desserts off a menu any time of day.

"People come to the hospital sick and we make sure their overall meal experience enhances their stay and to make sure they feel they are at home and that they can order something they are familiar with instead of standard hospital food," said Maria Rihana, with UCSD hospitality services.

The extensive menu offers everything. Once the order is called in, it goes to the kitchen, where every meal is made to order and is delivered as soon as it's ready.

"Today, I ordered pizza with garlic bread and strawberries. This is their veggie dish with carrots and celery, and, of course, I had to hide some cookies in there," said patient Patricia Barbour.

Never in her wildest dreams did surgical patient Barbour expect to have room service during her stay at the hospital.

"It's not like regular hospital food," said Barbour.

Nurses said room service lifts patients' spirits and makes them recover faster.

"They can call on the telephone (and) order exactly what they want, and they can order breakfast at 10 p.m., if that's what they really want to eat," said UCSD nurse manager Kathy Ryan.

Even though no one wants to spend time in the hospital, patients like Barbour said they look forward to enjoying what's on the menu.

UCSD's Thornton's room service menu lists carbs, so people with diabetes can keep track of what they're eating.

The room service program will soon be available for family members of patients and nursing staff.

The program manager told 10News room service is more cost effective than making mass meals as most hospitals do.

For more information on Thornton Hospital, click here.

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