Unhealthy nutrition in Germany's clinics

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Food in the hospital is often insufficient

The diet in German hospitals has apparently been so poor that many patients have an increased complication rate due to malnutrition in the healing process. For this reason, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) has now developed new quality standards for hospital meals on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

Similar to the existing regulations for day care centers, schools, food on wheels, care facilities and old people's homes, the DGE's guidelines for the clinics are to ensure a needs-based and balanced diet. Not only three main meals but also at least two snacks are provided to ensure adequate patient nutrition. According to the DGE, an adaptation of the nutrition guidelines is urgently required, as the previous diet in many clinics favors patient malnutrition. The nutrition experts not only criticize the quality of the food itself, but also the framework conditions such as the service or the design of the dining areas.

A quarter of patients malnourished when they are admitted Patients are often already malnourished in the hospital (around 25 percent of hospital patients suffer from underweight) and the difficulties in the clinics continue due to the insufficient nutritional supply, reports the German Nutrition Society. According to the nutrition experts, only around fifty percent of the patients eat their lunch completely. The consequence, particularly in the already weakened hospital patients, is increased complication rates, longer lay times and more frequent re-deliveries, explains the DGE. The patient's diet-related problems would increase the overall treatment costs by up to 20 percent. However, according to the DGE, a balanced diet with good framework conditions supports the recovery of the patient and could thus contribute to a significant reduction in treatment costs.

Quality standards for hospital food In order to support the health-promoting nutrition of hospital patients, the DGE makes exact specifications in the quality standards for the clinics for full and health-promoting full catering based on the current state of science. Recommendations for an optimal selection of the food, the production of the dishes and the service of the staff as well as the design of the dining areas are given. The number of daily meals is also prescribed with three main meals and two snacks. This is to ensure that patients always consume enough nutrients and fluids. Clinics that take into account all the requirements of the German Society for Nutrition can have their nutritional offer certified by a corresponding quality seal and are allowed to use the name "Nutrition Station". The Löwenstein Clinic in Bonn was the first hospital in Germany to have undergone appropriate certification. (fp)

Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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