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Hospital food doesn't make the grade

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 31, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Patients are dissatisfied with the food at Stanton Territorial Hospital, according to a recent report by Health and Social Services.

Though 67 per cent said the hospital's care was excellent and another 28 per cent rated it as good, the hospital received a failing grade when it came to food services.

According to the survey, 53 per cent of 247 respondents polled rated the hospital food at Stanton as fair-to-very-poor.

In 2004, 46 per cent rated the food as fair-to-very-poor.

"Generally the feedback that we receive is that the service that (people) get from the cafeteria proper ... is good, but it's the quality of the food they get in their room (that's poor)," said Sylvia Haener, chief executive officer with Stanton.

"We need to do some more investigation on why that is. We don't know if it's when the food is delivered, or is the presentation poor, is it cold, does it lack flavour?"

She said they intend to meet with the company they contract food services with to find out what they can do to improve.

One service that Stanton is looking to provide is the timing of meal delivery.

Meals are delivered at 9 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

"We'd like to be able to provide service with our patients so that they can get food when they want it."

For example, Haener said a patient in obstetrics who has to stay up all night with a fussy baby should be able to choose when her meals are delivered.

"They don't want to be woken up for food," she said.

The new program would allow the patients to request they receive their meals at a later or earlier time.

Haener said the survey is a good tool because it lets them compare how they do from year-to-year.

Stanton also conducts their own internal surveys and she said that findings are similar between theirs and Health and Social Services.

"We do make changes in our approaches based on the comments we get from patients and their families through that process."