Healthcare food catering is considered the most complex within the foodservice ecosystem due to many interrelated factors. This complexity is made worse by the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic. As there are more additional precautionary measures to adhere to and possible service disruptions risks due to the very contagious virus.
Hospital menus are based primarily on clinical needs as well as on patients’ preferences and other factors such as: the number of meal choices, food varieties, quality, presentation, and taste.
Research has proven that dietary intakes influence disease risk. While certain foods may trigger chronic health conditions, others offer strong protective and medicinal benefits. Therefore, if food is treated like medicine, then dietary modifications on prescription by dietitians or therapists can make the hospital’s food less appealing and even tasteless (i.e. sugar-free, blended, low-sodium, low-fat diet, etc.).
In light of this, carefully planned menus that are both nutritious and balanced are an important part of any hospital foodservice program. A therapeutic diet can be modified from a “regular” diet to meet a medical or special nutritional need. It can be part of clinical treatment, and in some cases, can even be the main treatment of a condition. For caterers to hospitals without the necessary expertise to prepare therapeutic or texture-modified diets, thus compromising on nutrients and consistency, they should consult your hospital’s dietitian and speech therapist and work with specialized providers of texture-modified diets in your country to fill this gap.
Food safety is another critical component of operating a successful hospital foodservice program. This is because these diets prepared are meant for sick patients who are likely to be more susceptible to foodborne illness due to their health status and decreased immunity.
Wide-scale ecosystem change has increased its demand for greater attention to the environmental impact of food production. Hence, increasing pressure is put on Hospital caterers to use more locally sourced foods, recycling, reduction of food waste, and improved energy efficiency.
With all these critical components and complexities in high focus and priority during these challenging times, HFC can be your reliable and trusted partner to collaborate and work with, for a win-win solution.