when i’m in the hospital, bring me pretzels and a real vanilla milkshake

there is a topic that is very important to me but also has lots of different apsects to it…it’s not just simple and straightforward. i have been a hospital patient, i have been a patient who has been on a restricted diet and i have been a patient who needed to eat to regain my strength. i also take care of patients who have been very sick, they usually have very little interest in food and need to be pushed, coaxed and cajoled into taking a few bitefuls.

my philosophy on hospital food is that there should be simple(not too spicy), soft(texture), comfort food readily available.  last saturday would be a perfect example, two patients could eat but declined the chicken curry and some other unidentifiable meat/gravy/veg dish that was available. i was saying to another nurse that what they really need to serve is a big bowl of homemade soup, with a nice chunk of bread with butter and a nice fruit salad….one of patients overheard me and said “i agree!!”

i actually tell families that a nice homemade sandwich, one made the way the patient likes on their favorite bread with just the right amount of mayo is so much better than what is served by the hospital~~i have also gone to the shop in the hospital to buy ice lollies (popsicles) for patients if they say they’ll try one.

one of the keys here is that what if a patient has their first craving in the middle of the night, shouldn’t we have something to offer them???

this news story has been circulating on the bbc today

Prison food ‘beats NHS hospitals’

Kitchen staff preparing food
Researchers say hospital patients do not consume enough good food

Researchers have claimed the food provided in prisons is better than in NHS hospitals.

Experts from Bournemouth University examined the quality of food offered to prisoners and NHS patients.

They say people in hospital are losing out on nutrition because they are not being helped with eating or having their diet monitored.

A Department of Health spokesman said most patients were “satisfied with the food they receive in hospitals”.

Professor John Edwards said about 40% of patients entering hospital were already malnourished, and this did not tend to improve during their stay.

as the article points out, prisoners have the luxury of appetites and being able to sit around a table socializing, doesn’t that make it even more important to serve really nice food to patients in the hospital?

now this is actually one time where i don’t think the NHS is alone in serving crappy food to patients but i just don’t understand how they get away with it. food=nutrition=health. how can you have a healthcare facility where such a basic element like nutrition is so lacking?

nutter that i am, i have actually emailed jamie oliver suggesting that he do for the NHS what he tried to do for school lunches here which was to teach them to cook basic food with fresh ingredients….he is too busy…apparently touring america by the looks of his current series.

lo and behold, there is a blog where you can submit pics of your hospital food and a related facebook site obviously crappy food is an international problem….

interestingly enough, there is this project

This two-year project aimed to increase the proportion of local and/or organic food to 10% of the catering provision of four London NHS hospitals:

  • Ealing General, 
  • the Lambeth Hospital in Stockwell (mental health)
  • St. George’s in Tooting, 
  • the Royal Brompton in Chelsea (heart & lung).

Lambeth catering workersProject Background

The NHS spends around £500 million on food to serve 300 million meals in 1,200 hospitals every year. And while no one is expecting Gordon Ramsay to do the cooking, when you’ve had to book your place six months in advance, whether at a restaurant or a hospital, you would think you could at least get a decent meal when you show up! At least some Londoners did, because of a two-year London Food Link project. Working in partnership with the Soil Association, the project tried to increase the proportion of locally produced, nutritious food served in London hospitals.

The project evolved after initial encouraging research in 2002 and 2003 by the Soil Association, in conjunction with the Foundation for Local Food Initiatives, on the feasibility of adapting catering procedures in St George’s Hospital, Tooting, to include organic food. Funding for the project was secured from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) under the Rural Enterprise Scheme, and also from the King’s Fund.

well, just wondering what other people think, ever been a patient and want to describe what you got vs what you would have liked?? ever visited someone and tried to get them to eat some obviously inedible slop??

what would be your perfect hospital meal if you were, let’s say, recovering from an operation?

3 thoughts on “when i’m in the hospital, bring me pretzels and a real vanilla milkshake

  1. I’ve only been a hospital patient three times – the first, I was 6 and had my tonsils out and don’t remember much about the food. The other two times was to give birth. I was given really good food and drink to help start a good milk supply – couldn’t complain about that!

    Email my and everyone you know Jamie Oliver’s email address…maybe if he heard from enough people, he’d do something – or maybe he’s just too famous nowadays…

  2. i remember having cooked pears once and then asking my mom to make them at home!! 🙂 I remeber alot of green ello but that was in the US.. IN the UK it was a lot of starchy stodgy food..too heavy really.. Ice cold drinks would have been nice.. ya right.. PLUS NOT having to caryy my own food tray with heavy china plates etc from down the hall after a c section would have rocked!!

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