Patient education is a key aspect of any treatment plan. This is especially important when talking about nutrition. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 40% of admitted patients are suffering from some form of malnutrition. Giving patients the information and resources to make better choices following discharge supports better long-term outcomes and reduces diet-related chronic illness across the communities we serve.
In developing a nutrition education program for patients, it’s important to start with basics like equipment and cooking techniques. Having the proper tools in the kitchen, and knowing how to use them simplifies healthy cooking and fills in learning and skills gaps that can be obstacles to healthier eating.
Involving clinical nutrition staff in culinary classes can give participants a greater understanding of how nutrients work to support health, and how our bodies are affected by sodium and fat. Dietitians and nutritionists have a different relationship with food than a chef, so having these experts teach together provides a fuller, more applicable education. Patients can learn healthy, new ways to prepare family favorites, with an understanding of how these changes will benefit them and their families.
Teaching patients how to eat fruits and vegetables in season helps offset the cost of buying fresh, and helps provide variety. Healthy eating plans get abandoned, falling prey to boredom and budgetary constraints. Educating patients on which fruits and vegetables are available locally promotes economic growth and improves access to wholesome foods.
By offering cooking and nutrition classes that are geared around a particular medical issue, dietary staff are able to tailor the lesson to meet a particular set of needs. Classes for diabetics can focus on reducing sugar and understanding the relationship between protein and carbohydrates, while classes for cardiac patients may be centered around reducing fat and sodium. Simplicity is important when educating patients about nutrition. By providing simple, easy-to-prepare recipes, educators increase the likelihood that patients will continue with prescribed dietary restrictions and meal plans.
In every health care food service operation, patient education programs work in conjunction with the hospital kitchen to provide fresh, safe meals to patients and support overall health. Integrating technology, like Hospital Food Service Software from Vision Software, automates every aspect of meal service with turnkey software solutions that improve patient safety and satisfaction while increasing productivity and reducing waste and food-related costs. Call 629.777.8989 or fill out the form in the sidebar to schedule your free demo today.