Thursday, 3 April 2008

Hospital Food.

Gordon Cheng links to an interesting report regarding hospital food.

I must say that the food in the two hospitals I spent 7 weeks in last year (Campbletown and Camden) Had terrific food and plenty of it.
Yes at times there were problems such as getting the wrong type of bread or wrong flavored yogurt. Maybe a cup of tea instead of coffee - sometimes with or without milk. But most of the time it was spot on.
There were a few concerns that this report does pick up some of them.

1.) That some of the food is packaged in a way that makes it hard to open.
a.) Cereal came in those single portion boxes. These I found hard to open myself and alongside many others had to get nurses to open them for us.
b) Bread came wrapped in the same type of packaging which again necessitated help to open them.
c.) The same was with the milk, butter, condiment and juice portions. Especially the juices, even my wife had trouble opening them at times.
d.) The pepper and salt also came in those little portioned packets which would often get wet, damp or if dry would be hard to open and sprinkle on the food.

2.) All the food came from a central location away from the hospital. This meant that if there was a problem with the traffic or an accident occurred the food would not be on time...admittedly though the service was good and this never happened during the time I spent in hospital.

There was only one time at Camden when the lunch time meal was not the normal choice. That was because the only lift in the hospital was being serviced, which meant the normal hot meals could not be delivered. We had been given a few days warning regarding this though and in reality there is nothing wrong with having a sandwich for lunch any way.

Interesting though from what I observed happening is different to what this report found regarding undernourishment. Many of the elderly and frail would leave much of their food uneaten because they either didn't have the appetite to eat what was in front of them or the energy to eat much.
A lot of the elderly patients who came in were already a little undernourished through not eating enough or proper food anyway. Many would tell me that they would just have a sandwich during the day and maybe another one at night while at home. Others would tell me that they had the one meal provided to them by meals on wheels.

I also recognise that since the inquiry some years ago into Campbeltown hospital many improvements have been made. And that the two hospitals I spent time in come under a different area health department than the ones mentioned in this report.

The one frustration that I did have is the lack of nursing and medical staff. The staff at both the hospitals were incredibly efficient at their work and very compassionate with the patients and so I cannot complain about them in any way. The lack of funding for more staff though made their work much more difficult and I think that a duty of care means that if patients and nurses have more time for interaction, healing would take place a lot quicker. (The situation at the rehab ward was a little different in that the nurses, doctors and staff did have more time for patient interaction)

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