Nutrition specialists at St. Joseph’s happy changes that came with with new hospitals

More was expected of CHI St. Joseph’s Health when it moved into its new state-of-the-art, $100 million facility in December 2014.

The food served to patients and visitors was no exception to that, registered dietician Darcy Stafford said.

Not only did the hospital put its new cafeteria front and center in the building off Fairway Street in west Dickinson, Stafford said its staff created an entirely new patient menu — which allows them to order what they want instead of eating whatever the cafeteria is serving that day — and changed its system to better track patients’ nutritional habits and make better recommendations for patients.

“Much like when you when go into a restaurant, you’d open our menu and order what you’d like to eat — which is probably one of the best things I can say happened in our department,” Stafford said.

Some patients may have limitations on sodium, dairy or carbohydrates, Stafford said, and the hospital’s staff can better track that and tailor meals to their needs now.

“We have an operator in our diet office who really monitors that,” Stafford said. “Since everything is computerized, as they order, it will add up.”


Better for patients

Lona Gordon, the hospital’s director of dietary services, said everyone received the same meal at the old St. Joseph’s cafeteria.

Patients appreciate the ability to choose now, she said, even if everything on the menu is a healthy choice.

“Patients can accept it so much better when it’s explained to them,” Gordon said. “(The dieticians) are great at furthering and helping the patient understand why they can’t or what it does to them. These guys are like scientists.”

She said the cafeteria recently received the highest rating of all Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals in a recent survey. The health system has more than 100 hospitals and in 19 states.

“That was for the patients and total meal experience, from food servers to food options, to the timeliness of getting their meal,” Gordon said.

Stafford said an operator in the kitchen either calls a patient’s room — when the patient is able to answer for themselves — or goes and visits them before each meal to ask what they’d like to order off of the hospital menu. The operator has the ability to tell the patient which items are restricted and steer them to choices that will be healthier.

“It’s a very nice personal touch, because the operator gets to talk to the patient,” Stafford said.

Being able to monitor what patients put into their bodies is good from a dietary standpoint, Stafford said, and patients enjoy being able to have a choice.

“When they get the choice, it’s so much better,” Stafford said. “It maybe makes it not feel so institutional. That’s a real benefit for us. As we go along, we’ll get to make more changes to the menu, too, and we’re really seeing what people like and what they don’t like. That’ll be upcoming here in the near future.”


Bigger, better and brighter

Cook Shaun Rattin likes to chat with people.

His job at Lefty’s grill and cafeteria inside CHI St. Joseph’s Health give him the chance to do that much more than the old hospital’s dining area ever did.

“It’s better, it’s brighter, it’s bigger,” sadi Rattin. “People can come in and see us.”

Lefty’s — affectionately named in honor of state Rep. Mike Lefor, the hospital’s former chairman of the board — serves a healthy menu daily for St. Joseph’s staff, clinic patients, hospital visitors and the occasional customer who stops by just because they like what it offers.

Stacy Stice, a dietary aide, said customers enjoy that Lefty’s has grill food without fried food.

“Customers love it,” she said. “They like it healthier, the healthier options that we give them.”

Lefty’s offers a daily salad bar, a yogurt bar during breakfast, ala carte snack options from its cooler, such as yogurts and cheeses, and always serves a lunch special.

“It’s not your average cafeteria food,” Rattin said. “It’s way better. It’s fresher.”

Gordon said Lefty’s has received a 92 percent customer satisfaction rating in a survey.

“We were proud of that,” she said.

Stafford said every item at Lefty’s is also labeled to include calories and ingredients, which she said helps customers make informed choices and avoid items they may be allergic or intolerant to, such as nuts, gluten or lactose.

“People are becoming more aware of their food, and wanting to know what the ingredients are in there,” she said.

Rattin said when they made the move to the new hospital, the kitchen lost its deep fryer — a decision he was totally against at the time. Now he sees how people enjoy the fresher food, and what he calls “reasonable prices.”

On top of getting rid of the fryer, Stafford said, the new menu made the staff become short-order cooks instead of assembly-line cooks.

“When we did move over, it was all new recipes for our cooks to learn,” Stafford said. “That was a huge challenge. We went from what they were used to to a totally new environment. … They all embraced it. Moving into a new facility was hands down just a big booster for us.”

After more than a year in the new hospital and its kitchen, Stafford said most things run like clockwork.

“It’s much more relaxed and they’re getting the system down,” she said. “I think they’re understanding, too, that as a hospital, you need to be one of the leaders as far as healthier choices. They’re excellent people in our cafeteria. They like people so they visit well, and they bring customers in.”

Into the Blue: Sanford AirMed ready to take off in Dickinson

Adam Parker, a lead flight paramedic, talks about the operations inside of Sanford AirMed’s King Air B200 medical airplane on Thursday during a fl ight for media members.

Josh Zellers has been piloting airplanes out of Dickinson for eight of the past nine years.

On Monday, however, he will officially begin what he calls a “more fulfilling position.”

Zellers is one of eight pilots Sanford AirMed has placed in Dickinson to operate its King Air B200 fixed-wing medical plane that can transport patients throughout the upper Midwest.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Zellers, who left a management job with Western Edge Aviation for the position with Sanford. “The opportunity for the pilot group, the medic group, the service for the community — it’s all really exciting.”

Sanford hosted a media tour and flight Thursday afternoon before an afternoon ribbon-cutting event at Western Edge Aviation’s hangar. The plane offi – cially begins operations at 7 a.m. Monday.
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A SPECIAL DELIVERY: Baby boy born 1 hour after St. Joseph’s hospital opens doors

Liam Rajala was seemingly late to arrive. It turns out, however, he was right on time to be the first baby delivered at the new CHI St. Joseph’s hospital. Dickinson’s newest resident — a 21½-inch boy weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces — was born at 9:09 p.m. Monday. Liam was delivered by Dr. Thomas Arnold a little more than an hour after the hospital officially opened.

“He was a week late. I thought he’d be born in the old one,” Lorina Rajala, Liam’s mother, said Tuesday afternoon as her husband, Brad, held their son in their postpartum room.

Brad said when his wife went into labor at home Monday afternoon, she had to call the hospital to determine where she’d have to go for the birth. They sent her to the new facility on Fairway Street.

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CHI St. Joseph’s secures new medical helicopter

It didn’t take long for CHI St. Joseph’s Health to find a replacement for its medical helicopter service.

Grand Forks-based Valley Med Flight agreed Tuesday to base a medical helicopter at the helipad of the new St. Joseph’s hospital under construction in Dickinson. Valley Med Flight will also provide fixed-wing aircraft support to southwest North Dakota from its existing bases.

“Our No. 1 concern is access for our patients,” said Reed Reyman, president of CHI St. Joseph’s Health. “We just know that a helicopter needs be based here and we know we have to have access to fixed wing, so we did all we could to get this in place.”

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Emergency Services Center ‘huge’ for New England

New England Fire Chief Joey Kathrein stands Wednesday at the construction site of the new city’s Emergency Services Center, which will serve the city’s rural fire department and ambulance service and have sleeping quarters.

NEW ENGLAND — All it takes is one look inside the New England Fire and Ambulance Hall to see the small town could use a better facility.

Packed like sardines into a 40-foot long by 80-foot wide steel building on the town’s Main Street are two ambulances and five fire trucks of different sizes. One truck is always parked outside.

“Those who have questioned why we need a new building, all they have to do is walk into ours right now,” Fire Chief Joey Kathrein said. “It’s actually dangerous. That’s a big reason why we wanted to expand.”

With the help of grants, fundraising and a donated piece of land, the town is building the $1.15 million Emergency Services Center on the city’s northeast edge to house its fire and ambulance services.

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liFeeling safer with medical helicopter around

During my flight, I got to see sights like this, such as the under-construction Sanford Health Clinic, front, and St. Joseph’s Hospital, back.

Toward the end of August and into early September, I will take a few days off and spend what I can only presume will be some long days at my family’s farm helping my dad and brother harvest what we hope is an above-average spring wheat and durum crop.

As safe as farmers try to be at any time of year, harvest can get hectic and mishaps have been known to happen.

I remember one year where an accidental touch of a combine’s throttle nearly caused the machine to run over my brother, who was working underneath it. Yes, safety says we should have turned the combine off before working on it. As most farmers will attest, that is a safety rule that typically doesn’t get followed — especially when the crop is ready in the field and storm clouds loom on the horizon somewhere in Montana.

If an accident were to happen on the farm this harvest, I am confident the affected person will be just fine. That’s because I now know just how fast medical help can reach us.

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Spirit Lifeline helicopter takes off

Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson speaks with residents during the Spirit Lifeline helicopter dedication.

It is becoming easier for emergency personnel to reach western North Dakota residents in need of medical help — even those who may think they’re out of reach.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday at the Biesiot Activities Center for the Spirit Lifeline air medical helicopter, the first of its kind in Dickinson.

Spirit Lifeline is based on the grounds of the new St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center, which is under construction in west Dickinson. Though the hospital won’t be fully operation until the fall of 2014, the helicopter and its crew are already going strong.

They have been operating since June 1 and have made 18 flights for medical transport, pilot Robert Fratti said.

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