Submitted by Carol Swan, Senior Consultant, Communications, Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment

New food services pantry system will bring prompt service for patients at Royal Columbian Hospital.

An innovative pantry system will make meal services better for both patients and staff in Royal Columbian Hospital’s new acute care tower, scheduled to open in 2025. The six food services pantries will be like mini food service departments on levels 5 to 10 of the tower.

“Each pantry will have dedicated staff that will bring prompt, face-to-face services to patients from a convenient location,” says Elaine Chu, manager, food operations at Royal Columbian Hospital. “We will be right there on the same floor with the patients. We’ll be right there for their last minute requests.”

The pantries will be supported by a central kitchen in the basement, where hospital food services departments are usually located. Elaine is excited that the pantries will be located on the hospital’s upper floors and four of them will even have windows looking out to the Fraser River.

“Can you imagine the pleasant feeling it will bring to my staff every day when they go into the pantry to prepare meals for the patients?” asks Elaine. “I believe happy staff bring happiness to patients and they make happy food.”

Not only will patients be able to order food directly from pantry staff, they will also be able to use a new food services app. This app will make it possible for family members to order food on behalf of patients who may find it difficult to order on their own.

“Say a patient has a language barrier, or another kind of barrier, the app will help provide them with an alternative way to order meals,” says Elaine. “Their loved ones can order and pre-order for them, from home, from the office, anywhere, any time. That is quite an improvement.”

The food services team had an opportunity to see what one of the new pantries would look like when they visited life-sized fully constructed mock-ups earlier this year. They were able to move around wood and cardboard models of the equipment so they could make sure everything would be in just the right place so the pantry system is the best it can be.

Elaine can’t wait to see the finished result. “This new environment – it works for the food services staff, it works for the patients, and it works for our collaboration with the nursing team. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

The Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment project is a multi-phase project that will transform all aspects of the hospital and increase the number of beds by about 50 per cent.

Learn more about the project on our website.

Interested in working with Elaine and the team at Royal Columbian? Visit our careers page.

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