Vancouver Coastal Health says its hospital food isn’t horrible, and they have the numbers to prove it

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WATCH: Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health say they've made changes in their food system, and now have a 95 per cent satisfaction rate. John Hua has the story – Mar 2, 2018

One of the things many patients dread about a stay in the hospital is the food.

But Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care say they have developed a system to ensure varied and palatable food options.

One patient at Richmond Hospital told Global News that prior to her stay, she had often heard that hospital food was “inedible,” but that she has been “pleasantly surprised” by the meals she has been served.

“It’s like being in a restaurant almost,” she said. “You can choose what you want.”

Healthcare behind the scenes: Hospital food

Japanese cucumber salad and chili-glazed Oceanwise salmon are just two of the meals that are prepared fresh at Richmond Hospital.

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“We’re trying to change that perception of hospital food,” said Tiffany Chiang, district manager for Sodexo, the company contracted to prepare food for Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care hospitals.

“We have hospital chefs, just like [at] restaurants and at home, using fresh ingredients. They’re cooking on-site.”

Sodexo makes more than 14,000 meals a day and Chiang says they have aimed to boost the flavour of the food they serve and provide patients with more options.

“We have over a hundred different diets in the hospitals that we have to accommodate, and if we factor in all the combination diet orders, we have over a thousand.”

READ MORE: Changing perceptions one plate a time: Inside the Lions Gate Hospital kitchen

So how do they know if they’re doing a good job?

They actually measure the food left on trays to be thrown out. The national standard for food left on hospital food trays is about 40 per cent.

In 2012, Vancouver Coastal and Providence Health found that about 35 per cent of food served was discarded. Through this program they were able to bring that number down to 14 per cent.

Add to that patient satisfaction survey scores that have increased to an average of 95 per cent, Chiang says they are providing true comfort food to patients.

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“They’re feeling comfortable, feeling satisfied about their stay and that’s really essential to their recovery.”

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