The Kitimat Health Advocacy Group wants the Northern Health Authority to do something to improve meals at the Mountainview Lodge multi-level care facility.
And it is offering an example to follow.
At the group’s November 12 meeting Luella Froess brought up a story that had appeared in the Vancouver Sun on innovations by the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities regarding meals at Lions Gate Hospital’s MLC wing.
And Mountainview Lodge’s retired care co-ordinator Enevoldson’s response.
Froess explained the innovations included offering residents a choice, the ability to ask for smaller portions, serving it hot and making the meal more appealing by serving it on actual china rather that plastic trays.
“And what they are finding, believe it or not, is they are going to save money,” Froess added.
Drawing on her own experience with the MLC here, Froess said portions are so big that some residents look at it and, knowing they can’t eat it all, lose their appetite.
That, she explained, is because they were from a generation “that never wasted a thing. When they get too much food on their plate and feel they have to eat it, that’s a turnoff.”
If the southern health authorities could make these changes, why couldn’t the NHA, she asked.
In her letter, which she provided to the Northern Sentinel, Enevoldson said, “Sadly, Northern Healths’ Mountainview Lodge in Kitimat had a version of what is described in your article.”
She explained that through the efforts of “caring staff, both in nursing and dietary departments” Mountainview Lodge had implemented what was called Relaxed Breakfast in 2008.
“Residents had a choice of when they got up and what they wanted to eat from a limited breakfast menu,” she explained.
Enevoldson went on to say that “without consultation with residents, families or any staff on the unit, a budget decision was made that impacted workload to the extent the Relaxed Breakfast was no longer sustainable.”
She said that because of that decision, “the already busy care aides were expected to take on the bed making. This was the equivalent of an extra 4 hours of work.”
Enevoldson said the ending of Relaxed Breakfasts meant residents are expected to be up for nine o’clock breakfast serving and given the breakfast – prepared by the local kitchen hours before.
“Residents have no choice in what they are served,” she pointed out.
Froess moved requesting the NHA review its meals at its MLC facilities – not just Kitimat – “with a view to improving the quality, improving portion size and making the food look more appetizing.”
That passed unanimously with the request to be sent to health services administrator Jonathan Cooper and Marina Ellinson, chief operating officer of the NHA’s Northwest area, with copies to the acting head of Mountainview Lodge and the MLC family committee.