PLATTSBURGH - CVPH Medical Center's H. K. Freedman Renal Center needs votes from the community to prove they have exceptional performance.
Of all the kidney dialysis units across the nation, the renal center is one of only 19 centers to be in the running to have chef Oliver Hale cook for patients receiving dialysis.
More commonly known as "Chef O," the award-winning television host from Grand Rapids, Mich., is a dialysis patient himself, and has spent many years working to enhance life through cooking health foods in order to reduce health risks.
Chef O teamed up with Baxter Healthcare, a company which specializes in making dialyzers, to see which dialysis units in the nation had exceptional performance.
Registered dietician Tara Sherman knew KDU was up for the challenge.
"I got this poster and it just said, 'Do you have exceptional performance in your unit?' And, I thought, 'Well of course we do!'" laughed Sherman.
Since becoming the dietician for KDU two years ago, Sherman said she has made it her goal to create fun and exciting ways for patients to understand the importance of a proper diet.
"My little pet project here, I have this education cart that I wheel down the unit, and it's a fun way to educate the patients," explained Sherman. "So, I kind of featured that cart and just talked about how, as a unit, it changed things."
A PowerPoint project was created to showcase what exceptional performance meant to the renal center and how it can be seen throughout the unit.
"Education needs to change every day," states the PowerPoint.
Sherman uses the education cart to meet that goal, using hands-on education tools, instead of lecturing.
"The way they were being educated was boring," Sherman said. "It not only changed the way we educate, but it helps morale."
If the center were to win the challenge, receiving the most votes by the end of August, Chef O would come to the unit for two days, providing cooking demonstrations with a dialysis-friendly menu.
"There's a whole slew of things [dialysis patients] can't eat," explained Sherman. "It's very tricky for them to come up with fun, flavorful recipes.
Currently, the center is not in the top five contestants, but Sherman is still hoping people will vote and show their support.
To do so, visit www.xeniumxph.com and search for the H. K. Freedman Renal Center. Voting will be held through the end of Aug. 31.