We spoke to GBGH’s Dietitian, Brittany Gagnon, about her role at the hospital and the role nutrition plays in patient health and recovery.
What is your role at GBGH?
I am a registered dietitian. My job is to find the best nutrition care plan for our patients, which can be as many as 120 patients at a time. It can definitely be a challenge because there are many different dietary restrictions to consider – whether it be different textures, allergies or preferences – and we try our best to accommodate each individual patient.
Why is nutrition so important in a patient’s healthcare journey?
We know that almost half the patients admitted to hospital are at a high risk of malnutrition. These patients have infections that are harder to treat, wounds that are harder to heal, and stay longer in hospital. When we can offer a variety of meals that look appealing, and accommodate different diets and preferences, patients eat more and improve their nutritional status, which means faster recovery!
GBGH is an older hospital, and we face challenges with aging equipment in all departments. How does aging or not functional equipment affect the dietary team?
Because of outdated equipment, we have a limited capacity to prepare patient meals in our kitchen and many menu items arrive ready to serve. This makes it challenging to accommodate all of the diet preferences and restrictions, but the entire team works hard to provide excellent service to all of our patients.
What is Freshflex™?
Freshflex™ is an innovative menu system, built on fresh, flavourful, nutritious meals. Within the program, patients choose from a 7 day menu that includes choices for starters, entrees and desserts, with more than 100 restaurant quality dishes to explore. Because these meals have excellent presentation, and variety, patients are more likely to eat them, improving their nutritional status.
The Freshflex™ system includes two specialized ovens, which have the ability to steam, roast, bake and cook. This will provide the team with the equipment and ability to customize meals to accommodate diverse dietary preferences.