From left: Megan Erwin & Natasha Mooney, GBGH Food Services; Nicole Kraftscik, executive director, GBGH Foundation; Matt & Tara, Fresh 93.1 FM; and Ryan Lesperance.
On October 11, 2022, Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) and the GBGH Foundation celebrated the launch of Freshflex™, a new meal program for patients at the hospital. Implemented in partnership with food services provider Aramark, Freshflex™ is an innovative menu system built on the belief that fresh, flavourful and nutritious meals are an important part of everyone’s healthcare journey. One of the most critical parts of the program is the equipment, including two specialized ovens and a blast chiller, which were purchased with funds raised from the community through the GBGH Foundation.
The transformation of the Food Services department to accommodate this equipment began in May 2022, with the arrival of the ovens and chiller, followed by renovations to the space to incorporate a new belt line for more efficient meal preparation. The menu includes more than 35 chef-inspired recipes, which use fresh, local ingredients that are prepared each day by the GBGH Food Services team.
“This project required a significant commitment from the community and the Food Services team at GBGH, and is a great example of how the Foundation and hospital partner to benefit patients,” shares Nicole Kraftscik, executive director, GBGH Foundation. “Our community invested more than $170,000 for the equipment, while the Food Services team worked diligently to learn new recipes and processes to utilize the equipment, delivering fresh meals for our patients.”
The Freshflex™ program also prioritizes excellent food presentation to enhance appetite, delivering meals on real (unbreakable) dishes, and provides patients with a variety of options for starters, entrees and desserts.
“Having more variety and visually appealing meals can improve intake for patients in hospital,” says Angie Saini, vice-president of clinical services and chief nursing executive, GBGH. “An estimated 45 percent of patients admitted to hospital are malnourished, which results in a longer stay and more difficult recovery. Providing our patients with meals they want to eat is going to improve their recovery time and health outcomes.”
The menu will also continue to evolve based on food trends and patient feedback, although initial responses from patients at the hospital has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Food has definitely improved,” shares one patient, and another patient congratulated the team, saying “I enjoyed the beef dinner, and look forward to breakfast.”