Hospital Food and PA



I was watching a film on TV last night (Unbreakable starring Bruce Willis, if you

On Oct 2, 2003

Hi Michelle.

Before my son was born I spoke with a dietician at the hospital. She seemed to think they could provide me with a peanut-free diet while I was there. I also have to have a sesameseed-free diet, and with that she was totally confuffled. Didn't seem to understand about *cross-contamination*. I decided to bring my own food to the hospital - and since I was only in 24 hours that wasn't too bad.

After discovering she was confused about cross contamination I questioned further about peanut. She thought if it didn't say *may contain* it must be safe.

This was 5 years ago, and [i]maybe[/i] things are better, but I doubt it. Somewhere on this board is a mom's experience with a popsicle given to a pa child after an allergic reaction.

However, there is something you can do. Most hospital's now have fridge and microwaves available for patient's use. They are not private, in your own room, but, at least they are available.

Here's hoping this is all information you don't need anytime soon. [img][/img]

On Oct 2, 2003

No. Lauren was in the hospital for 3 days. when I ordered food for her, they said it didn't contain peanuts. when I asked if they read the label, the response was, "Why, it is wheat bread? Wheat bread doesn't contain peanuts"

I was floored and asked for a supervisor.

So a word of caution to those in the hospital.

On Oct 2, 2003

Our local hospital does serve peanut products, I've seen them in the cafeteria. My dd was in the hospital a few years ago, and wasn't served p.b., however she is also allergic to eggs and every morning, they had eggs on her plate. I'm glad I stayed right there with her. Tamie

On Oct 2, 2003

Awhile back we discussed a simialr topic if not the same. I recall mt Dad being prescribed a low salt diet. Every meal had a packet of salt on the tray and he used it. I know my dad, and actually, this *was* a low salt diet for him, LOL. He uses TONS of it. It is actually quite gross.

I mentioned it every time I saw it and usually the person could not speak English, and by the time a nursing staff person came along, he had eaten, and used it. I tried, but he was easily aggitated at the time and I could not really stop him.

I would imagine any other restriction would be handled with the same degree of care. [img][/img] becca

[This message has been edited by becca (edited October 02, 2003).]

On Oct 2, 2003

WE had the WORST hospital experience. My son had spent the night after having MAJOR reaction. The next morning, after specifing to the nurses over and over again about his allergies which are: peanuts, kiwi and egg. This is what they brought on his tray: Honey Nut Cheerios, a muffin (containing who knows what) and scrambled eggs!!! I was floored!! I won't trust the hospital that is for sure!!!

On Oct 2, 2003

We've always had good experiences, peanut-wise, in hospitals. Sometimes the food is unidentifiable and disgusting, but it's always been peanut-safe since my DD's diagnosis. The key is to talk to your doctor about your dietary needs, not the nurses or the food service staff. Your doctor can order a special diet, and at least in our hospitals, they always comply. Interestingly, my DD has never been hospitalized, but since her diagnosis, I was in the hospital giving birth to my DS, and then he was in the hospital with pneumonia. In both cases, I wanted a peanut-free diet (me because I was nursing and my DS because we're just avoiding peanuts with him entirely to be safe) and the doctors were fine with that.

Just avoid that gelatinous looking stuff that could be pureed peaches but could also be hardened polenta.


On Oct 2, 2003

[quote]Originally posted by LaurensMom: [B]No. Lauren was in the hospital for 3 days. when I ordered food for her, they said it didn't contain peanuts. when I asked if they read the label, the response was, "Why, it is wheat bread? Wheat bread doesn't contain peanuts"

Good God. Please don't tell me that this was a nurse who said this. How infurating/disappointing.

On Oct 2, 2003

My first DS is PA. When I was in the hospital after the birth of my second DS in 2001, I noticed that the ticket/menu that came with my meal noted that I had a peanut allergy, which I don't. Imagine my surprise when I got a meal with a peanut butter cookie! I told a nursing supervisor immediately! (Maternity patients don't get to choose their menus since they aren't in for very long.)

This isn't a small hospital either ... it's a very large teaching hospital in a major city ... we brought our first DS to its emergency room when he had his first PA reaction in 2000.

On Oct 3, 2003

Thanks everyone for your responses. It seems like most hospital staff are as clueless as everyone else about this.

Even if you were to request a peanut free diet, how would you know if it was cross contaminated or not? While they might possibly know enough not to give you a peanut butter sandwich (or maybe not, judging by robinlp and 2Pies experiences [img][/img]), you couldn't be sure if they would serve you may contains etc.

At least you'd be in the right place if you did have a reaction though.

On Oct 3, 2003

Quietly contemplating the various channels through which a diet order goes through prior to arrival. Fingers in the pot so to speak.

Also contemplating the pot healthcare in general finds itself in today. Bandaids, arteries, and suggestion boxes?

On Oct 3, 2003

I would consider it as any place where food is served, especially given the discussion here. If you cannot see the label yourself, and do not know the exact ingredients, bring your own. (depending on comfort zone). My dd is so picky, but I might allow a simple chicken breast or such, if there were to chef on staff there to tell me what was in it and around the kitchen(like at a restaurant).

I have worked in and spent time in(with my sick mom) enough hospitals to know there is usually(if not always) a fridge on the floor and you could keep some things there and labeled for a special circumstance and patient. I find the best help with details comes through the specific nurse in charge of the patient for the day/shift. If you have good communication there, they are *wonderful* at pulling the rest together.


[This message has been edited by becca (edited October 03, 2003).]

On Oct 3, 2003

I was thinking that one should consider it as any place food is served, which would mean I wouldn;t be too keen on eating anything from there. However, the problem is, if you are hospitalised, then you may not have access to any other food. If there is a fridge available (which I'm not sure is the case in Irish hospitals), you may be able to get someone to bring you in some food, but what if you are in a situation where you don't have anyone to do this for you? It's the "helplessness" issue that is bothering me; that if you don't want the hospital food, you may not have anything else to eat...

On Oct 7, 2003

I was in the hospital for two major surgeries last year. I had to have my food brought in both times. I had very little advance warning on the first surgery, but I still tried to call ahead to discuss food options. I never got a call back from the dietician. While I was in the hospital, my allergies were noted and I was *still* served a peanut butter sandwich and a pre-made omelet containing tofu and soy margarine for the first breakfast!

I sent the tray back everytime--generally, I didn't let it come in my room. My poor husband (who was dealing with some severe health issues of his own) ran to taco bell or whole foods for me. One day, I called my favorite lebanese restaurant and ordered food and a couple friends picked it up.

The second hospital couldn't accomodate my latex allergy in the kitchen. They use latex exclusively and the dietician and patient advocate (I was smart and got BOTH of them) couldn't come up with any workable solutions which wouldn't risk my health. They also weren't sure they could guarantee soy-free vegetarian food. Once again, my meals were brought in.

Both hospitals are *large* hospitals in a major US city. The second one is a teaching hospital, to boot.


On Oct 7, 2003

My PA son was in children's hospital this past august to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. Just our luck, the hospital was celebrating Luau day and was giving out free make your own ice cream sundaes in the lobby. While my son was in recovery, his nurse had come back and raved about the sundaes and suggested we get on for my son. We reminded her of his peanut and nut allergies, her response was not to get the nuts on the sundae. Curiosity got the better of me and I went to the lobby to take a look at the set up. The ice cream was scooped into bowls using the same ice cream scoop (there were multiple flavor choices). The toppings included reese's pieces, chopped nuts and peanuts (among some "safe" stuff). The line for the sundaes included mostly hospital staff-nurses, doctors, etc. I was stunned. Two weeks later, I got a survey form from the hospital. I expressed my concern but have not heard anything yet. I should have immediately complained to someone at the hospital, but at the time, my main concern was my son. If I do hear anything from the hospital, I'll report back here.

On Oct 7, 2003

My husband has been hospitalized for the past six weeks, and for much of that time was on a highly specialized diet. I found it necessary to check all his meals to make sure they were the types of food he needed and could tolerate. I never noticed nuts or peanuts, but I really would not have trusted anyone after finding some errors.

I have found it helpful to not only establish a good working relationship with the RN, but with all the LVN's and other personnel. I really depend on them when I can't be there. I made a concerted effort to know each one and his/her name and to engage them in helping me check the meals.

Now that my husband is recovering, he is able to check and question the meals on his own.

Bringing in food from outside would not have been allowed.

I would definitely say to watch everything very carefully.

Ironically, I met with the dietician the other day to discuss his needs when returning home, and when I told her I was PA/TNA, she just ignored me. But in the visitor's cafeteria, I saw potato chips labeled "Not Safe for Peanut Allergic People".

On Oct 8, 2003

With my DS's first P reaction at 18 months, the children's hospital we took him to kept him overnight for observation. We went in around 1:30, right after lunch. We finally got a room around 7. The nurse would not bring him anything to eat. She said there was no way to know if it was cross-contaminated in the cafeteria. Of course, at this point, I knew nothing about that or anything really about food allergies. So, I waited for my husband to get there, and then went to the local ACME & bought some goldfish, a couple slices of deli cheese and some bakery-fresh bagels [img][/img] I had checked the label, and it didn't say anything, but we were lucky nothing was cross-contaminated. I thought it was annoying at the time that the nurse wouldn't bring him any food from the cafeteria, but I guess that was a God-send.