Hospital’s alcohol policy just what doctor ordered

Hospital’s alcohol policy just what doctor ordered – chicagotribune.com.

 

 

FORT WAYNE, Ind. —  Patients at a northeastern Indiana hospital could find hospital food a little more palatable if they wash it down with a glass of wine.Parkview Ortho Hospital in Fort Wayne allows patients or family members to bring alcohol into the hospital for those whose doctors have approved alcohol consumption.

The alcohol policy surprises some in the industry, but a Parkview Health spokesman told The Journal Gazette that Parkview-run hospitals will follow doctors’ orders regarding alcohol.

John Perlich said the requests aren’t made often and the alcohol policy isn’t used to woo patients to choose Parkview’s facilities.

But there’s no question that competition among hospitals has increased in recent years. Patients may choose where to have elective surgeries done or where to deliver babies based on amenities and perks available, which can include steak dinners, free Vera Bradley diaper bags and valet parking.

Julie Fleck, Parkview Ortho’s chief operating officer, said she asks staff each year how it can improve patients’ experience. As a result, the hospital offers steak dinners instead of boxed lunches for patients having a send-off meal.

She thinks such details pay off.

“We have some people who drive 100 miles to have their surgery done here,” she said.

The Ortho Hospital, which has 37 beds, serves about 3,500 patients a year for inpatient and outpatient procedures. About two-thirds of patients stay at least one night, and each patient has a coach to help with rehabilitation.

Patients and their therapy coaches share a meal just before the patient is released and can choose from steak or salmon. Dr. William Berghoff says some patients enjoy wine with the meal.

“You’d be amazed how many people do that,” he said. “It’s not post-op Day 1. It’s usually post-op Day 2.”
Berghoff says he allows patients to have one or two alcoholic drinks a day so long as they aren’t taking narcotics at the time.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press.

Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611

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