Unhappy with hospital’s food

| 17/01/2019

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusWhile I realise a hospital’s first priority is to treat patients, and I give high marks to the quality of care at George Town Hospital, I nevertheless feel compelled to complain about what passes as food there. Getting a good meal can go a long way to lifting a patient’s spirits, something that the folks at Health City clearly understand.

 I’m not asking George Town to hire gourmet cooks but there certainly is lots of room for improvement. Why can’t the administration make the effort to serve at least halfway decent food?

Auntie’s answer: I have heard this complaint before and have visited patients in George Town who were unhappy with the food, to say the least. I contacted the Health Services Authority (HSA) to see if they are taking steps to improve the situation.

The HSA sent a statement (see below) explaining under what guidelines the meals are prepared, which includes considering each patient’s dietary needs and restrictions “based on the medical, religious or other ethnic requirements of our varied patient population”.

It was also explained that a team of health practitioners – dietitian, nutritionist, physicians, nurses and food service staff – plan menus “designed specifically to support our patients’ health, quality of life, and recovery process during their hospitalization”.

This team also meets regularly to review the menu options. The HSA said that over the years the hospital’s Dietary Services Department has made “significant adjustments to menu options to improve variety and ensure healthier content”.

The authority emphasised it values the feedback of patients and families.

I am glad to hear that the HSA, as it says, “continuously evaluates all its services”. However, despite those efforts, I have never come upon anyone who has praised the food.

I agree with the reader’s point that the medical services the hospital provides are of a very high quality. And I appreciate that the kitchen staff – who are pleasant and helpful — offer two choices for each meal, with options for soup and sandwiches if the patient doesn’t want what’s on the menu.

But while the hospital’s team may be applying the same high standard to the nutritional quality of the food it prepares, I would like to see that translate into meals that are tastier and more attractive than what is offered now.

If anyone wants to share their experience with the food at the hospital, please feel free to add a comment.

Full statement from HSA: The Health Services Authority’s patient menu selection is an extension of our commitment to providing excellence in patient care.

Patient satisfaction with meals is very important to our team. All patient meals are prepared using strict guidelines to meet the unique dietary needs of every patient and the dietary restrictions prescribed by our physicians based on the medical, religious or other ethnic requirements of our varied patient population. As a result, the planning of meals for patients is coordinated by a diverse and specialized team of health practitioners including dietitian, nutritionist, physicians, nurses, food service staff who collectively plan menus designed specifically to support our patients’ health, quality of life, and recovery process during their hospitalization.

The specialized team meets regularly to review the menu options and make adjustments as required. We are committed to providing optimal patient satisfaction and will consider personal food preferences where possible, as long as the request is within the guidelines of the treating physician. The menus are also periodically reviewed based on data collected from daily audits undertaken by our Dietary Services Department and annual patient surveys to assess patient satisfaction with each meal.

Over the past years the Dietary Services Department has also made significant adjustments to menu options to improve variety and ensure healthier content in the regular menu choices provide including

Serving whole grain products – brown rice, whole wheat pasta etc.

4-5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables

Using low sodium seasoning and fresh herbs to enhance flavor

Reduce fat – all meats are prepared via baking, grilling, steaming or roasting without added fat

The Authority values the feedback of our patients and families and continuously evaluates all services, including feedback from our patients and the views of our Patient & Family Advisory Committee, which includes broad representation from the Cayman community, to make adjustments as required further enhancing our commitment to an exceptional experience for all our patients.

Send questions to auntie@caymannewsservice.com

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Category: Ask Auntie, Hospital Questions

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Not only at HSA unfortunately. I had surgery at Chrissie last year and was twice presented with food I was allergic to. The response when I pointed it out, “well just don’t eat that part” even though it was on the plate touching the rest of the food.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just eat the food .

    • OLD Caymanian Captain says:

      That’s an easy fix if you’re unhappy with Hospital food , buy your own and have someone bring it for youm.

      • OLD Caymanian Captain says:

        Is this an uper class that is getting government assistance that is making sure that he /she can get surf and turf at Hospital..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Planning menus is one thing, but actually executing them is another. Value for money or a being a healthy option is not really relevant when the food is inedible. I spent three days in the hospital last year after surgery and I basically didn’t eat for those days. It looks, smells and tastes very bad. That includes the soup and sandwich option which I tried after two days of eating nothing.
    Also, I never was presented with “options” for my meals. They simply delivered a tray of stinky food periodically.

    It’s rather difficult to recover from surgery when you are fasting because the food is so bad. It’s also rather sad because the care I received from the nurses and doctors was of a very high quality.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the people planning menus might be doing their best. The problem is they are just completely clueless on nutrition. HSA needs to hire a qualified nutritionist to work with the chefs and if the chefs don’t step their game up replace them too!

  4. CINIC-oooh says:

    You get what you pay for.

  5. Say it like it is says:

    At least you can sue them now if they poison you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To determine value one has to compare. The food in FL hospitals is prepared under guideline of nutritionists. You can’t hardly eat it and it is mostly JUNK; if you didn’t ask for a stool softener, you might be in a BIG trouble later one.
    Unless something has changed in the Cayman Hospital since I was there under observation, I found its food was delicious.

  7. Anonymous says:

    HSA has a huge problem discharging many people who really don’t need to be in hospital any longer, but their families insists on them staying there because they know that nobody is ever going to pay the bill. Start serving good food and every HSA bed will become long-term care for the indigent.

  8. Sinical says:

    “Lift their spirits” – I suggest a tot or two of rum with each meal will surely cheer them up.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The response from HSA is a complete crock of shit! I was hospitalized for 10 days a few years ago and the food was absolutely awful then, and nothing has changed!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The food might taste awful at the hospital BUT the bigger concern is that it is all completely nutrient deficient! How in the world is a sick person supposed to get better eating the crap served in there? The body needs whole foods including fresh greens, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts to recover!

    One of my fears is getting sick and ending up in there long term and having no other option but to eat the food they serve. I think I’d rather just have them pull the plug.

    • Anonymous says:

      HSA should team up with the local farmers to get some really fresh produce in for their patients. More business for our farmers and healthier patients.. Win win!

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re not getting pampered at a spa, so why to expect more than what will you keep alive. I have yet to find a hospital anywhere in the world that provides restaurants quality food. I recommend stop complaining and have your family bring you delicious and nutritious meals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget legumes and lentils. These babies are nutrient dense superfoods!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have never had to be admitted at HSA. I was admitted at Health City and I really have to compliment them on their food it was excellent, not only the food but my doctor and the rest of the staff where well educated and mostly caring.

  12. Anonymous says:

    One of my suppers while a patient at GT hospital was a tuna sandwich on white bread with a side of pretzels (and contrary to what is said above, I did not have a choice of two meals). Nothing warm. Not a shadow of a vegetable to be seen. If that is what the dieticians at the hospital call healthy and balanced, they should be required to go back to school.

    • Anonymous says:

      Were you hospitalised with a suspected seafood allergy? I was, they brought me a tuna sandwich as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        And I, after telling them I was allergic to both wheat and seafood.

  13. Anonymous says:

    For the same reason they can’t clean the AC vents in the rooms nor clean-up the gardens and repair the benches therein, etc., etc.. It’s a crying shame! Very poor management at HSA!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Yet another reason to go to Shetty, can’t beat a good curry!