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Menus and room service: How hospitals can transform patient experience (and save money)

www.healthing.ca, Meghan McGee

Small budgets, expensive suppliers, and a lack of management buy-in have given hospital food the well-deserved reputation of being tasteless, and well, gross. But a coalition of health leaders is spicing it up. Every day, a typical large hospital throws out more than one tonne of food, according to a 2014 report . In some Canadian hospitals, more than 50 per cent of the food served to patients ends up as food waste. One reason driving the deluge is the average daily food budget, which is less than $8 a patient — dollars that are stretched across three meals, two snacks, and beverages per patient, per day, to meet the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care guidelines . These tight budgets often drive health-care institutions towards cheap and highly-processed foods, resulting in tasteless, reheated meals that are left uneaten on the tray. Another reason for the waste stems from the fact that many hospitals and long-term care homes no longer prepare their own food, instead, buying from large suppliers and distributors. And while preparing food off-site allows for efficient, one-stop shopping, it also requires a two-day lead time — 48 hours during which a patient could be moved, discharged, or scheduled for a procedure that restricts eating, resulting in a wasted meal. A national coalition of healthcare and community leaders, including Food Secure Canada and Health Care Without Harm , hopes to change that. Companies like Montreal-based Nourish aim to transform the reheated, industrial food served to patients into climate-friendly, plant-rich and culturally diverse meals.

Read the rest here:
https://www.healthing.ca/wellness/food/hospital-food-waste/

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