Part Two of the effects of patient safety, in healthcare foodservice.
Food and drug interactions are recognized as a serious problem in healthcare foodservice. How do the healthcare professionals alert the foodservice department and the patient that a medication interaction will occur with their food choices?
Many people consume their favorite beverages when taking medications not knowing the possible impact on the drugs absorption in the body. Juices consumed at breakfast, orange in particular, can cause significant side effects or improper medication effects.
Grapefruit and grapefruit Juice interaction with certain cancer drugs can dramatically reduce the amount of the medication absorbed into the blood stream by half. Grapefruit can also cause an increase in blood levels with several medications such as; cholesterol lowering drugs, heart medicines and narcotic pain relievers resulting in unexpected side effects that can be life threatening.
Fiber is another food that can interfere with the absorption of heart digoxin’s, antidepressants and diabetes medications. Fiber is a healthy food item where intake should be monitored and reading food labels is important when fiber can be found in unexpected sources such as salad dressings and yogurt disguised as guar gum.
Behold the power of chocolate and cheese but, when consumed with MAO inhibitors (treatments for depression) there could be a sharp rise in blood pressure.
Another culprit that is potentially life threatening is potassium containing foods. Ace Inhibitors when interacted with potassium foods such as, banana’s, oranges, green leafy vegetables and salt substitutes increase the amount of potassium in the body and can result in irregular heart beat and heart palpitations. It is also important to take medications as prescribed to avoiding side effects brought on by food interactions.
So, how can the hospital food service department prevent food and drug interactions with patients they serve?,….leverage the sophistication of computer systems specifically designed to recognize defined conflicts for 100% patient Safety. To accomplish this goal an interdisciplinary approach is required: INFORMATION IS KEY! upon admission and during their history and physical interviews , elicited as much information from the patient as possible related to current medications, supplements, over the counter medication, alcohol consumption and illicit drug use outside of the hospital setting. Once this information is updated into the patient diet history record, there is now possibility for the patient to receive food items that would cause a negative reaction.
Essentially, use of automation eliminates human error and provides appropriate menu item substitutions.
In a room service environment, it is important to develop policy and procedures between foodservice to alert nursing when patients on insulin-type medications has ordered their meals to ensure the patient’s medications are administered as prescribed to avoid, a time/medication/food interactions.
Investing in an integrated food and clinical nutrition management software system will reduce the unwanted food/drug interactions that can negatively impact patient safety for the health system. The elimination of a sentinel event or death resulting in increases dollars, fines, litigation, poor public image and headaches to the health system is worth investing in a software system for your foodservice and clinical nutrition department!
For more information on healthcare food service software and patient food/drug interactions and safety visit –
by Tracey Turnquist, Director of Marketing and Sales, Vision Software
Avoid Food-Drug Interactions
Retrieval date: 7/20/2012
Avoid Drug Interactions
Retrieval date: 7/19/2012