Hospital food

Patti JPatti J Member Posts: 558
edited June 3 in Health and wellbeing
Last week I was an inpatient in a public hospital. 
The food was very poor. 
One of the doctors looking after me, told me that the local health service attempts to feed patients for $2 per day. I wasn't even offered toast for breakfast. Instead, I was presented with two slices of dry bread.
I have sent an email to the local health service expressing my concerns. Hopefully, I  will hear back about what they think they should do about this.
Surely good nutrition aids recovery from any illness.
Obviously, those in authority, in their ivory towers, believe that buildings are more important than patients. Millions of dollars are being spent on refurbishment of wards, new car parks, etc.
Don't those in authority at hospitals realise that without patients, they would not have a job?
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  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,838
    Gargh! This is a real issue. When ever I've been in the slammer to more than two days I order takeaway so I have at least one palatable meal a day. That has created issues on occasions as some hospitals don't like patients bringing their own food, and some try to expressly forbid it.
    I don't eat  much meat and never want it in hospital. I'm also a bit touchy when it comes to gluten so try to avoid it when possible. That narrows the menu considerably.
    I find out from the afternoon staff which restaurants deliver (nurses get meals brought in for themselves all the time) and order a good quality vego dish that I can split over two meals. I also take snack packs of nuts, precooked rice cups, tins of tuna and protein shakes.  I keep one of those Tupperware shake makers in my emergency bag. This should not be necessary, but apparently it is.
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,220
    I can tell you about the bread.  It's so it is sealed for each patient,  health regulations regarding letting toast sit on trays until it gets to the patients.  Our nurses will toast it for the patients on the ward if they want it.  They tried to do away with the water jugs and cups as well (again regulations regarding ice water taps and ice machines, plumbing, legionaires etc)  and just give patients 2 bottles of water for the day.  That didn't go down very well, so we got the ice water tap back with triple filter or some such thing, but the ice machines are a no no.  
  • Patti JPatti J Member Posts: 558
    edited June 3
    There wasn't a toaster in the ward. 
    It was also an unplanned stay in hospital. I was very ill.
    There really are no excuses for such poor quality food.
    I spoke to the Consumer Feedback Manager in Clinical Governance for my local health district. She didn't have any answers for me.

  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,220
    Yeah I know.  It took 6 weeks to get our toaster test,tag and approved.  It has to be kept in the staff kitchen so no patients can used it on there own in case they burn themselves. What a bloody nightmare.  
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,838
    edited June 3
    @Patti J I hope you are OK now.? Or at least OKish.
    There are no excuses and if food safety is the real issue--as opposed to cost which we both think more likely--there needs to be more consideration given to menus.
    Orange in NSW, built a huge new hospital that does not have a kitchen. Nowhere to cook, nowhere to park and, until recently, nowhere to die.  All the food comes pre packed from Sydney, as I understand it. It's the same food that gets delivered to police lockups . Evidently the local crims won't touch it so the constabulary brings them McDonald's. /:

  • Patti JPatti J Member Posts: 558
    Thanks. I still have low neutrophils after having Influenza A.
    I used to work in a public hospital. I always took my lunch from home. I also took my own tea, teapot, milk, cup and milk jug.
    Hospital food is a joke. 
    It is interesting to note that medical students do one semester on nutrition. But that isn't concerned with what to feed patients but just with the composition of various food stuffs. 
  • youngdogmumyoungdogmum Gold Coast Member Posts: 199
    I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon unfortunately, but completely agree with what your saying. When I was a first year nurse I remember family members yelling at nursing staff for the lack of nutrition in their loved ones food. It’s a vicious cycle - long stay in hospital, lack of muscle use = muscle wastage, worsened by poor nutrition. 
    I put a complaint in about my food during my mastectomy; I’m a vegetarian and one day I was given a scoop of lentil pasta so small it was less than my palm of my hand. No side dish to accompany, no fruit, just that for lunch.  I told them I’m lucky I had a loved one who could supply food for me, others don’t. 

    I remember when my mum had chemo and during her inpatient stays in a private hospital the food was always fantastic and plentiful. Unfortunately that’s where the difference lies, private hospital stays are more focused on service and experience as opposed to overall care. 

    Regarding the nutrition subject, it’s appalling they don’t learn more.. I suppose there’s only so much time in one degree. There’s a big movement for “lifestyle medicine” which is up and coming, looks at preventative health etc from lifestyle point of view. I’m sure in 20 years time there will be alot more involvement with these practitioners in the community etc. and we will see a big movement in nutrition as disease prevention. 

    Wishing you riddance of flu A! 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,838
    @kezmusc when I was nursing back in the late 70s, early 80s we had 'green ladies'. They were in charge of water jugs and ice and flowers and lollies and cups of tea, pretty much anything that didn't involve drugs or bodily fluids. They'd help with feeding on occasions. A good green lady team on your ward was invaluable. I remember one of them quietly shepherding a family back up a hallway while miming to the nurses desk that the patient had died while no one was watching; trying desperately to not make a fuss. Some of them, of course, were terrible gossips who could get a bit above themselves but they were  key parts of hospital operations
    I do understand how ice machines on wards can be a problem because people are bloody disgusting. It's only a matter of time until there will be no kitchenettes, everything will come out of vending machines. Even the basic facilities available get abused, I've seen people pour all the teabags and coffee satchels into their handbags and no one cleans up after themselves. Gargh
  • poodlejulespoodlejules Member Posts: 290
    Just want to give my 2 cents worth. I've had stays in 2 public hospitals in Melbourne and the food was fine and I'm pretty hard to please with a plant based diet. Plenty of fruit and veg options and pretty sure I got toast (albeit cold!) There was even a "hidden" menu at Peter Mac where you could order chips, pies and pasties if you felt like it ! Make sure you fill out the patient survey  so they know about your concerns. Good luck with your recovery !
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 595
    I spent a total of 56 days and nights as a public patient in a large Sydney teaching hospital, just during chemo. I returned for just short of a month for bilateral mastectomy (including 11 days in ICU...long story). I subsequently spent three weeks for major neurosurgery. I was given a menu to fill out daily (for the next day) and although very bland and unexciting, was acceptable. Two things I learned to steer clear of was so called plain omelette...reconstituted egg turned solid rubber...swimming in a pool of tepid water and the magnificent "Fish with sauce" ....something that previously lived in water, covered with elephant snot...(or so it looked and smelled like). I do have to admit sending my hubby to the franchised restaurant for take away curry and rice.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,340
    edited June 3
    Very exotic @Annie C!

    I've had stays in both private and public hospitals (our local public being mostly a facility for elderly people) and I've had good and not so great food in both.  Quantity has never been an issue although I always tick "large" so that if there's something I don't like much on the plate, I can leave it.  I know when the new Royal Adelaide Hospital was opened, there was outrage over the quality and delivery of food to the wards but from people I know who have been patients since, I believe it has settled down.  My beef with them now is that there's no hospital cafeteria for family & other visitors - or not that I have found.  It's all contract cafes which I think is appalling for a public hospital given the prices of the food.  If you're there with a family member who is really ill, that can add up over days.
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,220
    @Zoffiel,

    I am going to sneak a peak at all the meal trollies and see what 's on the menu LOL.  I shall report back. :) You are correct, people are pigs.  There was a ummm lady that left yesterday.  When  the nurse went in to strip the bed there were chicken bones between the sheets and chucked under the bed, cigarette butts in the shower drain and dirty undies in the drawer.....eewww.  That room just about got fumegated.  This was a person who cracked the utter living shits about having a single room with a view. She also bolted with her cannula in....hmmmm wonder what that was for.  Happy days.
  • SarnicadSarnicad MelbourneMember Posts: 318
    I think hospital food public or private is always a bit hit and miss. On my admissions I’ve had mainly excellent meals in the private hospital but occasionally there was a fail - just didn’t order that again. My mum has been in and out of her regional country victoria hospital constantly over the last six months (more in than out!) and the food has improved considerably since they employed a chef. Most meals I’ve seen have actually looked appealing and she says most were tasty, again if there were fails she just didn’t order them again. Water jugs are still there. 

    When she was in a major Melbourne hospital a few years ago there was a major fail - she had ordered a poached chicken breast with gravy. Somehow quality control failed and she got a plate of gravy. Very unappetising and the nurses found her some sandwiches from the fridge instead. NUM went off his head at the kitchen, good rant about how was his patient supposed to get better if that was what they sent up.  To this day if we want to stir mum up we say we will feed her a plate of gravy

    agree re no hospital cafeterias so many are privatised and then $$$$$$$ and if you have long stays it gets very expensive plus of course the parking cost
  • JulieVT11JulieVT11 Chermside, BrisbaneMember Posts: 53
    I had my mastectomy done in a private hospital and the food was just awful.  I have Coeliac disease so very strict gluten free which was noted on my chart and menu's etc but they still managed to send something every meal that I wasnt able to have.  Many trips to the little coffee shop in the hospital for some real food
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