Diet needs are incredibly important at the best of times, let alone when we are admitted into hospital. I hoped to find out how we can try and rectify this or what steps we can take to make things easier for ourselves at mealtimes.
Whilst being admitted onto the maternity ward at the James Cook University Hospital I was pretty disheartened with the food provided. In all honesty it is the same in any trust hospital I should imagine due to the meals being outsourced. BUT I do remember a time when hospitals used to cook meals on site, heck my first job was a pot wash in my local hospitals patients kitchen and the food was AMAZING! Saturday nights were the best beef stew and dumplings, cauliflower cheese and herby diced potatoes; anyone that worked with me on those nights would NEVER have known I was sick or had a mild eating disorder (well until I was admitted of course)
So it is really disappointing that some of the food isn’t amazing nowadays, don’t get me wrong some of the food I had in there was pretty surprising and nice (Ra-Ra stuffed her face with my vegetables and any fruit in custard I had) but there was little choice for vegetarians and nothing for vegans. Now I am not 100% vegetarian but I eat predominantly meat free meals. There was always one vegetarian option but we would be lucky if there was more than two portions on the ward. I have to say I was pretty lucky that a couple of the catering staff went onto other wards to find vegetarian options that hadn’t been ordered.
I did find it odd that when I was admitted that no one asked me about my diet needs like they have done on wards in the Friarage (I have mainly had admissions in the Friarage) but that could just differ between hospitals although I did google the NHS dietary requirements on wards and this is what I found:
More information can be found on the standards of hospital food required in the UK here.
Now it would be pretty unfair to expect the hospitals to be able to fully cater for us ostomates because our dietary needs are so individual. However offering a low residue diet on the menu would keep a LOT of ostomates happy as it is often the safer option.
I did a quick poll on Twitter about whether people felt their dietary requirements were met in hospital within reason.
I have emailed the Patient Advice Liaison Services (PALS) at James Cook to see if there is any reason why certain wards ask about diet requirements and others don’t, let alone the limited portions on the ward. I received a phone call from PALS saying they would pass my query on over to the company that is outsourced for the catering and that I should receive a phone call, that was a couple of months ago and still haven’t heard from them. Which I am hardly surprised at however if I want to put a formal complaint/query in I once again have to email but to a different email address to get a written response.
But I do think that on a whole wider needs should be met for those on elimination diets or like me meat free diets. What do you think?