In the coming months, hospital patients in the Czech Republic will start receiving more tasty and healthy diets according to the new recommendations of the Ministry of Health.
The new system intends to strengthen the role of nutritional therapists. Upon admission, they could recommend to patients a standard diet of Czech, Mediterranean, Asian cuisine, or a diet for people at risk of malnutrition.
The system was experimented for nine months by the General University Hospital in Prague (VFN).
Until now, the meals prepared for patients have been based on the 1955 system where each hospital developed its own diets to meet the needs of each facility.
Recommendations for a healthy diet have fundamentally changed in more than half a century. After 2017, the Ministry of Health established a group of researchers to create new methodological recommendations on catering and nutrition.
Lucie Růžičková, the head nutritional therapist of the General Hospital, emphasizes quality as the basis for changes in the recommendations. Patients will be divided into those who have standard nutritional needs and those who suffer from anorexia, whose food should have a higher caloric value.
“Today we served cod in parsley sauce with couscous and dried tomatoes for lunch,” says David Feltl, the director of the General University Hospital in Prague.
The general cost of food will increase, but will be lower than the treatment of patients with complications due to malnutrition, he added.
“We hired three new chefs, the key ones are the people who cook it. We now have a five-week meal cycle,” he explains. According to him, patients and employees are visibly satisfied with the new diet, as shown by the drastic decrease in the amount of food thrown away.
“The standard meal consists of three variants of dishes. The first contains typically Czech ingredients, such as lentils and root vegetables. The second type is Mediterranean cuisine with pasta, risotto, olives and fish. The third variant includes Asian dishes with couscous or curry spices,” said Lucie Růžičková, the head nutritional therapist of the General Hospital.