Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Canadian prisoners allocated more money per meal than hospital patients?

Further to yesterday's post on just how awful diabetic diets can be in Ontario hospitals, today's post keeps the discussion going. I'll get to prisoners in a second, but first let's talk sodium.

An RD in Alberta left this comment yesterday (edited for a bit of brevity),

"I am an RD in an Alberta hospital and unfortunately that probably is typical.

I know with many hospitals dietitians actually have very little to do with the menu despite what is often the public perception. Menu decisions are often made by untrained food services supervisors or managers with often little or no input from an actual dietitian. A dietitian has to compare the menu to Canada's Food Guide in Alberta to make sure that it meets the minimum servings of each Food Group, but I of course know your opinion on CFG :)

Alberta Health Services is also becoming quite strict in terms of things like sodium, which you would be disgusted to know is very high in hospital diets (even a low sodium in our hospital is allowed to have 3 to 5 grams per day!)
3,000-5,000mg per day is considered a low sodium diet?

Now to prison. Another commenter, a thoughtful nutrition manager from Ontario, pointed this out,
"The problem lies in the amount of money the government provides us to feed each person per day: $7.33. That amount is way less than the $11-$12 given to the criminals in prison."
Can anyone else confirm this? Honestly, while I knew hospital food stunk, I'm not sure I had any idea how bad, nor did I have any idea how hamstrung hospitals may be with costs.

RDs! Health care professionals! Caring public! Please continue to weigh in on this. You can leave anonymous comments and you need not identify your hospitals, but please tell us more about patient food woes.

The first step in fixing a problem is identifying one!

What barriers do you see to patient food reform? Where are the stumbling blocks? Is it hospital administrators? Cost? Logistics? Canada's Food Guide?