Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital now offers services and amenities designed specifically for South Asian patients.
“Last year, many of our South Asian physicians and employees participated in focus groups to identify how we could provide a unique care experience for these patients,” said Asian Service Line Administrator Carla Kuaiwa. “We wanted to offer services and amenities especially for this population and completely unlike any other hospital in Houston.”
In Texas, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown region has the largest Asian population — more than 300,000 people. According to the U.S. Census, Asians accounted for 3.5 percent of the Texas population in 2008, but nearly 15 percent of Fort Bend’s population and 6 percent of Harris County residents. Memorial Hermann Southwest, on U.S. 59 near the Fort Bend-Harris county border, is located in the middle of this thriving community.
As a result of meticulous research led by Kuaiwa, Memorial Hermann Southwest developed an extraordinary program concentrating on cultural sensitivity, quality, and comfort.
The initiative began with Patient Care Director Nancy Yuill and her team conducting a week-long South Asian Fair to educate all Memorial Hermann Southwest employees about the cultural beliefs and practices of the South Asian population. Key points of discussion were the importance of including family members in the health care decision-making process and the strong emphasis on quality nurses.
Then, last spring, the hospital’s Food and Nutrition Department prepared a variety of dishes for a team of South Asian physicians and employees to taste test. With feedback on ways to make each dish more authentic, Chef Darian Hewitt developed a menu featuring such items as chicken shorba; chicken, gobi, or vegetable tikka masala; chicken or vegetable madras curry; naan; palak paneer; and vegetable somosa.
The South Asian component is the latest development in a robust initiative to cater to the unique needs of the demographics surrounding the hospital. Memorial Hermann Southwest already offers Chinese and Vietnamese interpreters throughout the hospital, bilingual nursing and clinical staff, Asian TV programming available in all patient rooms, and a guest policy allowing overnight stays in patients’ rooms.
“Being ill and hospitalized is stressful enough; so, having staff who speak your language, a family-friendly atmosphere, and familiar foods make it a bit easier,” said Gary Kerr, CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest. “We strive to provide quality care and personal attention, and to meet the individual needs of every patient.”
Memorial Hermann Southwest was named among the nation's Top 100 Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics. This annual study evaluates the nation's hospitals on measures of overall organizational performance in patient care, operational efficiency, and financial stability.