There’s nothing typical about the care patients receive at TIRR Memorial Hermann and now there’s nothing typical about their dining experience. The world- renowned rehabilitation hospital has recently re-opened its café with the needs of patients and their families in mind.
The fresh look is what you’d expect at a new neighborhood restaurant or café not at a hospital. The café’s design features and special touches are unique and second to none. Whether its tilted menu monitors or drinks that dispense with a touch of a button, everything is set up to provide patients more independence.
“We see ourselves as a leader in our field,” says Carl Josehart, Sr. Vice President and CEO of TIRR Memorial Hermann. “In line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines we built our café in such a way that is better for our patients and their families.”
The ADA recommends countertops be no higher than 34 inches from the ground to provide easier access for those in wheelchairs. TIRR Memorial Hermann went one step further and dropped the counter tops to 30 inches. Cumbersome doors to drink coolers have been replaced with doors that slide open and stay open.
“We tried to think of everything. We even contacted one fast-food corporation about a proprietary trash can design,” says Jeff Whitaker, director of Food and Nutrition Services. “We want to create as independent an eating experience as we can for our patients and to that end we spare no effort.”
“From a design standpoint we’ve made a huge leap forward,” says Jerry Ashworth, FACHE, director of Hospital Operations at TIRR Memorial Hermann. “The café is inviting and much more accessible to our patients and if you’re here on Thursdays you have to try the chicken Santa Fe salad it’s unbelievable,” adds Ashworth.
The new café also offers a self-service area open 24 hours a day. Patients and their families can purchase fresh food and drinks through a kiosk, also designed to provide access to everyone.