Morung Express News
Kohima | 09/18
In April this year, a private hospital in Kohima began serving menus to its admitted patients with the aim of guiding and educating patients and their companions on proper nutrition and adherence to a meal plan.
The initiative at Oking Hospital in Kohima included five courses per patient at Rs 600 per day including tea, breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner served at 3 to 4 hour intervals.
In contrast, this was new to the people of Kohima or the States, who usually prefer home-cooked meals with delicacies suitable for the convalescent or caregivers. Likewise, the practice is uncommon or rare even for most private hospitals.
The initiative has undoubtedly received both positive and negative reactions and almost 5 months after the initiative was launched, the Hospital Authority shared the results so far in an interview with The Morung Express.
Negative and positive answers
“Some people who are picky about food say they don’t like the packaged food that’s served to them. Some find it expensive! But some, especially those who are from outside the district and don’t have places or kitchens to prepare food, welcome the move and find it convenient and helpful for patients and caregivers,” said executive director Dr. Vikethonyu Kesiezie.
“The nutritionist came by once and gave us information about different foods, but the quality is disappointing,” stressed one caregiver, adding that they were unaware of the paid service.
Similarly, another participant noted that if it could be used as a preference or need basis, it would be quite “impressive and expensive”. “The food they give is not preferable to feed our patient.”
However, one nurse said it was convenient for them as they cannot prepare food for the patient at intervals given the space and situation in the hospital.
“But the quality of the food can improve.”
Regarding such concerns, the hospital board claimed that it is “making efforts to make the food as tasty, clean, cheap and balanced as possible to ease the burden on patient attendants.”
“We’re trying to look at the loopholes and see where we can improve our services,” the agency added.
Appropriate nutrition is an essential part of clinical care
Ensuring patients have adequate nutrition is an essential part of clinical care and this is the overall rationale for the new initiative, according to the hospital board.
It also pointed out that hospitals in other states are restricting the bringing of outside food into hospital rooms for patients or caregivers, as these are not considered healthy for the infirm.
“Our people bring all kinds of food to the hospital and the whole ward when it stinks of food. For some patients it’s not very inviting when they’re recovering,” she said with satisfaction.
“When someone is sick, we want to give them ‘good food,'” it added, while categorizing is a common practice among our people.
40-45% of patients diseases due to lifestyle
Meanwhile, the hospital authorities found that 40-45% of diseases among hospitalized patients are lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, alcoholism, and claimed that these diseases require “guided diet plan.”
“One should know how much meat or rice patients with civilization diseases need to eat or the right amount so as not to aggravate or provoke other health conditions, and not to feed patients by our conscience.”
Accordingly, the role of a nutritionist/nutritionist comes into play, who critically scrutinizes and enlightens the nutrition plan, it said.
In this regard, the hospital authority said that the nutritionist visits each patient twice a day and makes a nutrition chart and conducts a consultation.
“If they have any problems with certain foods, the food will be modified,” shared nutritionist Anose Pusa.
When asked if there are restrictions on outside food, the hospital said that “there may come a time when we can get stricter about outside food, and in writing like any other hospital, bringing food into the Hospital grounds restricted.”
“But at the moment we are flexible. We also need to understand our patients’ feelings,” she added.
“Whether you bring it with you or not, we care for all patients admitted here,” she added. “All patients except ICU patients are provided with nutrition according to their medical condition, ranging from course meals to tube feeding with appropriate guidance.”
The hospital authorities later said they would be publishing a booklet on nutritionists to educate patients about diet and nutrition, and the content and composition of nutrients in the foods they commonly eat.