eMenuCHOICE is a web-based software tool that breaks down the communication barriers for resident meal ordering while enabling person-centered choices, maximizing accuracy, and streamlining kitchen meal prep operations for long-term care settings.
A Bit of History
As a Culture Change organization, Lyngblomsten has long provided a wide range of choices for residents regarding dining. A couple of years ago, they found a gap between what they said they offer residents and what was actually being communicated by caregivers to residents about food options. They found that not all residents understood what certain entrees were and furthermore, neither did staff.
Between hearing deficits, cultural differences, and language barriers of employees, the choices they thought they were offering were often “lost in translation.” This became clear during their Culture Change Committee meeting discussions in which residents are members and active participants. Lyngblomsten set out to use technology to bridge the communication gap about food choices.
eMenuCHOICE was developed as a web-based software tool that breaks down the communication barriers for resident meal ordering while enabling person-centered choices, maximizing accuracy, and streamlining kitchen meal prep operations for long-term care settings. The intuitive design of this feature-rich tool makes it easy to learn and implement. eMenuCHOICE incorporates touch-screen technology, simple descriptions, photos and preferences of residents, photos and audio of menu items, notices of special diet restrictions and allergen warnings, and more.
An Improved Dining Experience…for Everyone
For residents, this system empowers them by giving choices with complete information. They know exactly what they are asking for by seeing a photo of the food items, hearing the name of the item spoken clearly through the audio feature, and seeing a description of exactly what the food is. Additionally, they can touch the screen to actually place the order themselves.
For staff, eMenuCHOICE is far more efficient and accurate than other systems of taking orders with paper and pencil. The efficiencies are not limited to the order taking in the housing/nursing units; efficiencies can also be seen in the food service department. First, all orders are transmitted to the dietary staff electronically as they are taken. There are no more sheets of paper with handwritten notes that must be hand delivered from the residential/nursing units to the central kitchen. Second, the system tabulates quantities for each food item and diet type. At this point, reports are generated so food service staff know how much of each item to prepare and send to each residential/nursing unit, reducing food waste.
Care delivery is improved because of the added safety feature of each resident’s diet card prominently displayed with food textures, diets, likes and dislikes. When a diet is changed, the changes are highlighted on the screen for seven days to call attention to it. All foods are also linked to allergens so if a resident is allergic to something, the system will prevent them from ordering a food with that ingredient.
The real story of success with eMenuCHOICE is that technology is enabling person-centered care—streamlining a necessary and very important process while empowering residents to participate in a key activity of daily living: choosing what to eat for their meals.