The food services at hospitals of the Western Department of Health and Wellness play a crucial role in contributing to the efficiency of patient care. While spending the festive holiday period in a hospital may not be an ideal scenario for families, they can rest assured that their loved ones will be provided with appropriate meals during this period.
Most patients are admitted annually at the province’s tertiary and central hospitals, Tygerberg Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Collectively, these facilities provide nearly 4,4 million nutritionally balanced meals to patients annually, of which nearly 260 000 are expected to be provided in December and January.
“The significance of food services in our hospitals goes beyond merely providing nourishment but also leaves patients with a more positive overall experience. “Food is a key part of a patient's treatment. At the Department, we know that it is vital to ensure our hospitals offer a selection of nutritious, appetising, and well-presented food to assist patients in their recovery,” said Dr Hilary Goeiman, Director of Service Priorities Coordination at the Department.
Since many patients have specific dietary requirements due to their medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or food allergies, the Department’s food services staff are trained to ensure that patients receive appropriate meals without compromising on taste or quality. Hospitals also place a strong emphasis on food safety and hygiene to prevent foodborne illnesses and ensure patient safety, in line with the nutritional standards set by the national Department of Health. “We implement stringent quality control measures throughout the food preparation and delivery process,” said Melanie Coetzee, who oversees the food service at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
Rhoda Keyser, who oversees the food service at Tygerberg Hospital, said patients who will be admitted on Christmas and New Year’s days can look forward to special treats. “We usually have a special lunch menu with pudding included according to patients’ dietary needs. When staff plate meals, they will include cards with personalised messages for each patient. These are just some of the holiday cheers we hope will improve the patient experience during this period of the year.”
At Groote Schuur Hospital, the staff understand the emotional challenge of being away from loved ones during this time and go the extra mile for patients on special days. “We offer a two-course breakfast with cereal and hot meal. Additionally, each patient will receive a special goodie hamper. This is our way of bringing a touch of holiday joy to their stay and letting them know we care about making their experience as special as possible,” said Armanda Van Schalkwyk, who oversees the food service at Groote Schuur Hospital.
The Department expresses our deep appreciation to all food services staff who proudly prepare and serve meals to patients throughout the year.