Cancer affects all aspects of life, including eating habits. It can be challenging for cancer patients to not only find foods that taste good, but also foods that complement treatment and speed recovery.
However, treatment can affect diet differently based upon the patient. “Just like there’s no routine cancer, there’s no routine diet plan either,” says Drew Patterson, culinary director for nutrition services at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) and Wexner Medical Center.
To accommodate hundreds of cancer patients, their nutrition needs and their individual tastes, the nutrition services team at the OSUCCC – James has developed a large menu with a wide variety of nutritious choices for patients.
Nutrition aides serve as a both a reference and a server for patients, walking them through daily food options to optimize nutrition based on the diet ordered by their physician. Once the patient and nutrition aide have decided on a meal, the kitchen makes the patient’s order fresh in the new home of The James and sends it to his or her room within 45 minutes via a state-of-the-art dumbwaiter system.
“We wanted to create a system where cancer patients can order what they want to eat when they want to eat it,” Patterson says, “so we can try to get them as much nutrition as possible.”
Sound like sophisticated room service? It is! However, instead of patients calling in their order, they receive expert guidance on their diet choices to improve their health and get them on the road to recovery sooner.