Foodservice Plays an Integral Role in Patient Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Newnan, Ga.

A contemporary café, relaxing dining room, staff dining room, room service and nutrition services play an integral role in supporting cancer patients and their caregivers.

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The back-of-house hot lines contain a full utility distribution system behind the main lines in the stainless steel chase to the left of the double-stacked steamer.  All equipment under the hoods is serviced through the utility distribution system, which is efficient and allows staff to rearrange the cooking equipment if the chef wishes to change the menu. Photo by Harlan Hambright, H20 Creative GroupThe back-of-house hot lines contain a full utility distribution system behind the main lines in the stainless steel chase to the left of the double-stacked steamer. All equipment under the hoods is serviced through the utility distribution system, which is efficient and allows staff to rearrange the cooking equipment if the chef wishes to change the menu. Photo by Harlan Hambright, H20 Creative GroupCancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is a critical care stop for patients diagnosed with cancer and offers expertise in advanced-stage and complex cancer. CTCA describes its mission as "focusing on the patient first with doctors and clinicians working together to create personalized treatment plans for patients' specific needs. At CTCA, we treat the whole person, not just the cancer." All treatments – including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and other advanced medical technologies, nutrition, naturopathic medicine, oncology rehab, spiritual support and mind-body
medicine – take place under one roof.

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Nowhere is this more developed and visible than at the Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Newnan, Ga., which officially joined the CTCA network of hospitals in August 2012. It is the fifth CTCA in the country. Arranged as a multiorganizational service unit, the new facilities include 25 inpatient rooms with an acuity-adaptable care delivery model; surgical suites; state-of-the-art radiation therapy and infusion departments; an on-site, outpatient clinic; rehabilitation and physical therapy; and on-site residential accommodations for outpatients and their families. To make the patients' experience more seamless, medical oncologists, clinical nurses, naturopathic oncology providers, registered dietitians and nurse care managers come to each patient in the Patient Empowered Care® clinic pods.

Food and nutrition services are an integral component of care. As the newest of the CTCAs, Southeastern serves as a model for future facilities. Foodservices include the Café, which serves nearly all organic foods including natural, vegetarian-fed, no-hormone meats; the main 120-seat dining room with a 40-seat outdoor patio; a coffee shop; room service meal delivery for patients and their caregivers; and a stakeholders' servery and dining room (staff are referred to as stakeholders).

Designers wanted Southeastern to feel like a resort. Features include a fountain at the hospital's entrance, two saltwater aquariums in the lobby and an outdoor patio area adjacent to the dining room with a koi pond and gazebo garden for outdoor dining. A swan is also visible from guest rooms, the infusion center and elsewhere. Two rooftop terraces overlook the grounds and adjacent wooded property.

"For the foodservices, designers had to consider the facility's mission to provide whatever type of food choices patients and their caregivers require and request," says James Camacho, FCSI, CSI, president of Camacho Associates, which provided foodservice design and consulting services for this project. These choices may be greater than in a typical hospital facility because patients going through radiation and chemotherapy can experience drastic and short-term shifts in taste preferences. In addition, the many caregivers, ranging from medical personnel to family members, need to feel cared for and must be able to receive the nutrition they need to be effective in their roles.

"The biggest challenge with the design of CTCA kitchens is that they are multifaceted spaces serving banquets or other catered events such as board-of-director luncheons and dinners, stakeholder short-order and entrée cooking; and last, but not least, custom cooking for patient and caregiver needs. This is quite an assignment," says William "Bill" Rymer, a CTCA consultant.

"The greatest success we have had in satisfying all these needs is the CTCA Newnan facility," Rymer continues.

"This facility's foodservice design is the concept of a certified master chef, Jack Shoop, who, unfortunately, passed away two years ago. The basis for the design is a brigade system in which cooks and other staff members work in their respective areas to satisfy all of the cooking modalities."

Rymer credits Camacho, who is involved in all the CTCA facilities, with interpreting the needs of each individual chef and changing and tweaking facilities to their individual preferences.
"When Chef Roy Khoo arrived, we made just a few changes to the original equipment selection," Camacho says. "For example, on the salad bar he wanted frost tops versus refrigerated cold wells, and for the hot line he preferred a different griddle."

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