Patients undergoing outpatient procedures at an Ohio hospital are sent home with a free quart of homemade chicken noodle soup along with the typical discharge instructions.

The Chicken Soup to Go program was recently launched at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls as a way to ease the stress for patients and families by offering an easy-to-eat meal for the return home.

"We're always trying to look at new ways to make patients feel special," said Dr. Eric Espinal, Western Reserve Hospital's chair of surgery. "We realize they have a choice and lots of great hospital systems. This is an opportunity to help them out and let them know we appreciate them choosing Western Reserve Hospital."

It also goes to show that an age-old home remedy for recovery has not outlived its medical credibility. Lisa Barnes of Cuyahoga Falls said she enjoyed the soup for lunch and dinner after her recent shoulder surgery.

"Your stomach doesn't feel really good after anesthesia," she said. "Soup is always my comfort food when I don't feel good. I thought it was a nice gesture. … It's not like herding you in and out like cattle."

Western Reserve Wellness Coordinator Johanna Tanno came up with the idea as a way to allow patients and caregivers to cross off one worry from their to-do list.

"Going home shouldn't be stressful," she said. "That should be the easy part."

Chicken soup is a light food with fluid and protein needed for recovery.

"For patients who just had surgery, chicken soup just seemed logical," she said. "It's easy on the stomach."

The fresh, homemade soup fits with the hospital's Doctor's Order program, which promotes healthy eating in the community. Each to-go bag instructs: "Please enjoy — it's the Doctor's Order."

Most of the two dozen patients undergoing outpatient surgery at Western Reserve daily take up the hospital's offer for the free soup to go, Tanno said.

Joann Rilling of Cuyahoga Falls said she was pleasantly surprised when a nurse offered to send her home with soup after a recent outpatient hand surgery.

"Chicken noodle soup is a little bit on the curative side," she said. "It was good for me. All I had to do when I got back was heat it up. It was helpful."