In-mid February, St. Catherine Hospital and Heartland Cancer Center, both in Garden City, Kan., launched a new program designed to help cancer patients and or any patient with a chronic disease make better choices for their diet.
The program is called “Kitchen Therapy.” Monthly sessions, offered free of charge, provide participants with cooking demonstrations and guidance for choosing healthy ingredients.
Viry Dummermuth, BSN, RN, oncology nurse navigator for St. Catherine Hospital, is facilitating the free programs, which are scheduled to continue through November. She spoke with NurseNavigation.com about the program’s background and its objectives.
Q: Where did the idea for the program come from?
Viry Dummermuth: Kitchen Therapy is one of the many programs provided to us through our membership with Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA), the outreach division of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause side effects that often include nausea, loss of appetite, trouble swallowing, and low energy. National Cancer Institute studies have shown that maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that’s low in fat and rich in antioxidants is critical to a patient’s recovery and long-term health. MCA developed Kitchen Therapy to give patients, families, and caregivers helpful information on nutrition and food appeal.
Q: How does the program work?
VD: The recipes are selected and prepared by University of Kansas (KU) dietitians on their Fairway, Kan., campus and then broadcast via interactive television. During the one-hour broadcast, the dietitians prepare the food live. Through the use of video cameras, we can see the dieticians and they can see us, providing the opportunity for interaction and asking of questions. St. Catherine Hospital’s dietitian prepares the recipes prior to the broadcast so we are able to sample the dishes during the broadcast. We provide all the patients with a copy of the recipes prepared that day.
Kitchen Therapy is provided at no cost to our patients. It is a service provided free of charge for MCA members. St. Catherine Hospital’s MCA membership is paid for by the Leave A Legacy Foundation.
Q: The first session was held February 16? How did it go?
VD: It went really well. We had five participants, which included patients and family/caregivers of patients. Our dietician Joe prepared the food prior to the broadcast so it was available for sampling during KU’s demonstration. Joe is very knowledgeable, so he was able to answer any questions from the participants.
Q: How would you like to see the program grow?
VD: We hope to have more participants every month. Everyone that attended the first Kitchen Therapy was very excited about it and quickly signed up for the next session. There are many other programs offered by MCA. Seeing the enthusiasm for Kitchen Therapy from the public makes me excited about being able to offer more of the MCA programs to our community.