Rqhr Research Paper

Stephanie Cook, director of Nutrition and Food Services with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, thinks so. 

“That negative image of hospital food is everywhere,” she said. “We see it in the media, we see it even among our own hospital staff. People think it’s going to be tasteless, pre-packaged and highly processed.”

It’s tough dispelling the preconceived notions, Cook said.

“It’s probably the most common ice breaker for almost any staff to enter a patient’s room and say, ‘Ew, how’s the food?’ ” Cook said. “It reinforces to patients that the food isn’t going to be good. Our goal was to change that story and start with our staff.”

A two-part student research project in RQHR’s Nutrition and Dietetic Practicum program involved staff at both of Regina’s hospitals to see if it was actually the food that was bad or just its reputation.

The first part of the study asked 57 staff at the Regina General Hospital about their perceptions of the food served to patients. 

“Interestingly, it didn’t matter whether those people had experiences with hospital food themselves, they still rated hospital food poorly,” said Heather Tulloch, co-ordinator of nutrition and dietetic practice with the RQHR.

Part 2 of the project involved taste trials at the Pasqua Hospital.

Hospital staff were invited to sample six entrees they were told were being considered for the cafeteria. In fact, those items were six meals already being served weekly to patients at both hospitals.

Of the staff who tasted the food, 85 per cent rated the taste, appearance, smell and overall quality as good, very good or excellent.

The harvest chili and Greek pork chops were clear winners — rated by 98 per cent of staff as very good or excellent. 

Overall, 327 respondents including nurses, therapists, physicians and housekeeping staff rated the meal items.

Nearly two out of three respondents said they would purchase the meal they had eaten if it were offered in the cafeteria. 

“This tells us that hospital food doesn’t suck,” Cook said. “There is so much negative media and the expectations are just so low for hospital food … We want to change that story.”

Regular surveys done in the region’s acute care and long-term care facilities ask patients to rate the quality, temperature and variety of meals and if the food met their cultural needs.

Generally, patients rate hospital food as pretty good and the region is working to bring in more locally sourced ingredients all the time.

“It’s an uphill battle in hospitals because people aren’t in their homes, they’re sick, they’re being served their meals on a tray, which is certainly not how they receive them at home, and they’re in an environment where there isn’t homelike smells,” Cook said. “And folks who are sick generally have poor appetites.”

Entrees are a mix of food prepared in-house and outsourced.

“If we can find a product that meets our standards and the nutritional needs for our patients and the quality is either very good or excellent, then we consider that product,” Cook said. “If we can’t find one that we’re happy with, then we make it in house at the General Hospital.”

Almost all broth soups are homemade.

“We weren’t happy with the soups we were purchasing,” Cook said. “From a nutritional standpoint, they weren’t offering much in vegetables and protein and we know that soup is often an item that folks in the hospital do quite well with — it’s a comfort food.” 

Many patients come into hospital malnourished.

“Anything that we can do to encourage them to eat well is so important,” Cook said. 

How to get a copy of your personal health information
The physical record of your health care is owned by the health-care facility or region, but you have the right to read or request a copy of your health information. Normally, you have the choice of physically viewing your health record or receiving a copy. In either case, you may ask for help understanding what the terms, codes or abbreviations in the record mean. Your health information may be disclosed to a family member, friend or other third party by providing your written consent along with the form.

If you believe there is a factual error or omission in your health information, you have the right to request an amendment.

Please send your request ATTN: HIMS to the RQHR site or facility address where care was provided. As example, for Regina hospitals you send your request to:

Regina General Hospital ATTN: HIMS

1440 14th Ave  REGINA SK S4P 0W5

Facsimile: 306-766-4723   Enquiries:  306-766-4899

Pasqua Hospital ATTN: HIMS

4101 Dewdney Ave REGINA SK S4T 1A5 

Facsimile: 306-766-2745  Enquiries:  306-766-2306

Wascana Rehabilitation ATTN: HIMS

2180 23rd Ave REGINA SK  S4S 0A5  

Facsimile: 306-766-5244  Enquiries:  306-766-5652

 

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When personal health information is used for research purposes, the request must first receive approval from a recognized research ethics board. Summarized information that cannot identify individuals is used to create statistics for quality assurance, utilization measurement and performance monitoring.

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