Sunday, April 7, 2013

Food in long-term care and retirement homes

I often get requests for interviews from journalists, but recently I was interviewed by a 3rd-year Ryerson journalism students regarding food handling in long-term care and retirement homes.

It made me thoughtful.
I sat and fed my late father dinner every night for months. He was unable to manage the function of a knife and fork. He could use his spoon for dessert, but eschewed vegetables. I learned to respect his food desires.

When he first went into long-term care we had a battle with the dietician, who refused to allow him an egg every morning. The brain tumour was going to kill him before high cholesterol did. It's amazing how they either didn't understand that he was palliative, didn't choose to read his records, or couldn't make a humane decision regarding his wants vs. his needs and their rules.

Nursing Home Series 2003

How much does Ontario pay to feed and shelter our oldest, most frail citizens? ...The provincial food allowance of $4.49 a day per resident, allotted to each of ..... for guaranteed provincial nursing home subsidies for more than a decade.

Residents often have special diet needs -- for diabetes, heart disease, weight gain or weight loss. Most of their food has to be pureed, ground or mashed. We have to offer them choices, and rightly so. But that can't properly be done on $5 per day for one meal, let alone three. Not even with bulk food purchases among our members.

The provincial food allowance of $4.49 a day per resident, allotted to each of Ontario's 530 long-term care facilities, has increased by only 23 cents during the past decade.
To cover all other expenses -- lodging, food preparation and delivery, nursing care and physical therapy, laundry services, building maintenance, utilities and administration costs -- the province pays an additional $65 a day per resident, for a total of $70.
Even inmates don't have it so bad. Ontario pays twice as much per day -- about $140 -- to feed, house and protect those in jails, detention centres and drunk tanks.

blog post about the inadequacy of long-term care homes.

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