Connecticut Hospital Grows On-Site Produce, Recreates Hospital Dining Experience
Two of the countless side-effects that cancer patients grapple with during treatment are nausea and lack of appetite, a frustrating reality that often comes at a time when their body is in desperate need of strength and nutrients. A second reality is that many patients do not typically view hospital meals as overly delectable, in part because of the health concerns that chefs must consider in preparing a high volume of dishes each day. Combined with the stress of being ill, these two challenges often make it an obstacle to get patients to consistently eat nutritious meals that can play an important role in the healing process.
That’s why New Milford Hospital, part of the Nuvance Health Network, has flipped the script by creating a healthy and all-natural menu for their patients and loved ones using organic products. This project has been so successful that people are coming to the hospital exclusively to enjoy a meal without any medical appointment!
Entitled the ”Plow to Plate Program,” 80% of New Milford Hospital’s fresh foods come from local farms during growing seasons, while the remaining 20% is grown right on campus at New Milford Hospital. All meals are made from fresh produce and antibiotic meats- no frying or high fructose corn syrup allowed! These organic recipes are healthy and have had a tremendous impact on patient care:
- PREVENTION: $5 dollar meals are offered for seniors in the community seven days of the week, and many folks come to socialize while they dine.
- EATING WELL – All oncology patients and their caregivers (thanks to support from donors) are provided with vouchers to enjoy a meal in the cafeteria or take one home following their outpatient treatment visits. Creating deliciously hearty meals encourages both patients and loved ones to eat critically important meals that they would often otherwise avoid.
- 30 percent or more of patients and caregivers that use the program are breast cancer patients
- LIFELONG LEARNING: The culinary team that is responsible for the “Plow to Plate Program” host cooking lessons so that patients and community members can learn how to create healthy and tasty meals at home.
Composted food is also returned to where the food was originally sourced to help the next batch of crops flourish, including:
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