CONGRATULATIONS to our Cura teams on beginning a successful transition of food and nutrition services operations at all Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) facilities in Pennsylvania to Cura! Our teams understand the preferences and expectations of AHN’s patients, staff and guests – both in terms of nutrition and hospitable service. This understanding drives the satisfaction of our patients and guests and supports our mission of care in the community!
The first week in January, we began transitioning the Canonsburg Hospital and Forbes Hospital (Monroeville), followed by West Penn (Pittsburgh) and Grove City Hospital on January 30th. We are currently transitioning at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, while St. Vincent (Erie) will follow on March 22nd. St. Vincent will also provide patient meals at Westfield Memorial Hospital in New York. Cura will also serve AHN’s newest hospital at Wexford scheduled to open in the fall of 2021! Cura continues to proudly serve Jefferson Hospital and Allegheny Valley Hospital.
Cura’s history with AHN began in 2013, serving Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills, Pa., followed by a second location in 2014 at Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights, Pa. Cura was selected to manage the retail and demonstration kitchen at AHN’s former Wexford Health and Wellness Pavilion in late 2014 where Cura chefs and dietitians offered healthy cooking and nutrition education workshops that were open to the community.
“We’re excited to extend our service to the entire AHN network of hospitals, continually enhancing dining services, while providing an experience that exceeds the expectations of patients and guests. We are proud of this lasting partnership and are honored to contribute to the fulfillment of AHN’s mission to care for people and for our community,” said Lisa Schairer, managing director of Cura at Elior North America, Cura’s parent company.
Cura’s partnership-focused approach has resulted in leading patient satisfaction ratings for the AHN dining facilities under its management. Cura aligns its “Completely Satisfied Patient Experience Model” with the goals of AHN’s Operations Excellence Program which follows five pillars, including: safety, quality, patient experience, efficiency and human development. This alignment has made a significant impact on the overall quality of care for patients at Jefferson Hospital and Allegheny Valley Hospital and resulted in the highest patient satisfaction ratings above all others in the network.
“Through the Completely Satisfied Program, the Patient Experience team focuses on each patient’s specific health and dietary needs as well as their unique preferences. They partner with nursing staff to uplift patient spirits through quality food and personal service, while instilling feelings of community and contentment which is vital for well-being. Keeping the patient properly nourished helps speed up the healing process. We want to create a memorable dining experience for all patients,” said Kristen Azzarello, vice president for Cura at AHN.
Cura’s high patient experience performance scores also contribute to the hospital’s high-ranking Press Ganey scores, the most recognized national patient-experience measurement metric. Additionally, Cura uses the Studer Group principal for communication, AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thank You), which complements the AHNCARES model (Communicate, Acknowledge, Respond, Empathize, Solve). Using this type of communication tool enhances patient safety, decreases patient fears, and improves the patient’s overall experience.
Cura’s care for patients and guests has been recognized by AHN’s RAVE, the “Recognized and Acknowledge Valued Employees” award. Cura’s team members were among the first non-AHN employees to receive the prestigious award that honors employees who provide exemplary care or service to a patient, a patient’s relative, friend, or a fellow employee.
Health and wellness-focused food service
AHN has also selected Cura for its reputation in preparing fresh, healthy food and high-quality service. As one of the first healthcare food service providers in the U.S. to eliminate trans-fatty acids from its menus, Cura’s executive chefs strive to prepare the healthiest dining options possible. Cura teams also make substantial commitments to promoting healthier lifestyles through BeWell, a platform designed to educate and help guests make eating healthy the easy choice when they dine with Cura.
Responding to Covid-19
As the pandemic caused a need for increased food safety, Cura supported AHN with its own Covid-19 “playbook,” a guide detailing enhanced health and safety protocols amid new safety guidance from national health authorities. Everything, from implementing enhanced hygiene, to safeguarding employees, staff, patients and guests, is covered in the guide.
Creating a safe haven at AHN cafés has been essential to AHN health providers and staff. To help ease the strain that medical providers are under due to the pandemic, Cura teams at Jefferson and Allegheny Valley Hospitals repurposed cafeterias into pop-up grocery markets to support their nutritional needs, providing a convenient food shopping experience for them. At Jefferson Hospital, staff can easily purchase staples like milk, loaves of bread, butter, eggs, and iced tea from upright coolers, and culinary teams at Allegheny Valley Hospital made ordering pizza and other to-go, family-style meals easy for healthcare workers to pick up from the café on their way home.