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A good meal in the hospital. Is it even possible?

MedExpress Team

Irena Piekarska

Published Sept. 22, 2023 08:11

A good meal in the hospital. Is it even possible? - Header image
Fot. Thinkstock/Getty Images
Once again, on the occasion of the election campaign, the topic of patient nutrition in hospitals returns. The Health Minister's decree on the "Good Meal in Hospital" pilot program project on nutrition education and improving the quality of nutrition in medical facilities is expected to herald real changes. The project is generating public interest and a lot of excitement, because, after all, everyone may be hospitalized in the future.

Debates about hospital nutrition standards have been going on in various public health bodies for years. They gain prominence in successive election campaigns, but so far this has not led to changes for the better. Proper hospital nutrition still leaves much to be desired even though it was established long ago that diet is an integral part of the treatment and recovery process, reduces the risk of postoperative and other complications. As a result, it helps shorten a patient's stay in the hospital. It would seem that the problem of hospital diet is niche, because it concerns those who are currently being treated in inpatient facilities. However, it stirs up public emotions, as anyone can one day fall ill and require hospitalization.

A report by the Supreme Chamber of Control five years ago showed that there are many irregularities in nutrition in Polish hospitals. It enumerated, first of all, inadequate balancing of menus inadequate to the health of patients, too small a share of products that are a source of wholesome animal protein, too many products with low nutritional value and high fat content, underestimation of the energy value of food, improper distribution of energy between meals, and overestimation of salt content. It has also been noted that meals are prepared from low-quality products. Tests of samples of hospital meals, conducted at the request of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) by the authorities of the State Sanitary Inspectorate and Commercial Inspection, in turn showed nutrient deficiencies that could cause harm to patients' health. The list of irregularities is much longer, and it also includes issues of the sa...

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