ALBANY -- Palmyra Medical Center is currently in the process of enhancing the dining experience for people at the hospital.
On Friday, officials revealed the first phase of that effort. A ribbon-cutting was held for Park Place Cafe, a renovated food service system for visitors and employee meals.
"We are really excited about what we have been able to put together," said Director of Food Services Tim Underwood. "This takes us into the 21st century."
The cafe has a selection ranging from pizza to grilled entrees to cook-to-order cuisine. The project has been in development since November, with the actual opening being on Monday. Since that time, the traffic in the hospital's food services division has more than doubled.
"On a satisfaction level, everyone is getting great food," Underwood said. "People run in here."
Juanita Benson, the hospital's volunteer director, comes in to eat lunch every day at 11 a.m. In the long run, she said the expansion will be a good thing for the hospital.
"The new changes are great, and it does offer a variety of food we haven't had," she said.
In regards to the second phase of the expansion process, Palmyra is on the brink of offering patients "At Your Request" room service dining. Patients will be able to order from a menu and have it brought to them within 45 minutes, as long as the kitchen is open.
It will incorporate a traditional restaurant approach to meal preparation and delivery. This concept employs user-friendly tools and processes that officials say will ensure a more positive nutrition experience.
In the course of these developments, officials also said Palmyra will make patient meals while taking into consideration dietary restrictions and nutritional needs.
"Our goal will be to get 90 percent satisfaction," Underwood said. "We've definitely pushed this in a positive direction.
"I would expect to see patient satisfaction be the benchmark of the facility (when the room service program is launched)."
The room service system is expected to begin in March, and should be fully operational by June, Underwood said.