By Haldimand Press Staff
DUNNVILLE—A photo of an individual-sized pizza, served as part of a lunch meal at Haldimand War Memorial Hospital (HWMH), went viral last week on Facebook.
The photo was shared at least 20 times and garnered over 175 comments, which primarily condemned the hospital. Commenters called the food “unacceptable”, “disgraceful”, and “despicable.” Only a few people suggested there could be a second side to the story.
“Of all the issues I expected to be dealing with as a hospital administrator during a serious global pandemic, a complaint about food – which has now gone viral on social media – was not on my list,” said Sharon Moore, Interim President and CEO of HWMH. “Our employees have been working extremely hard during this very challenging time to provide the best possible patient and resident care, while keeping everyone safe.”
Moore admitted that HWMH has been “facing challenges” with food supplies due to COVID-19, as not all products have been available and some suppliers have closed their doors permanently. Additionally, they’ve been working with reduced staffing levels, budget restrictions, and the need for increased infection control measures.
“That being said, our food services team continues to do their utmost to provide tasty and nutritious meal options for our patients and residents. Menu items are selected based on their nutritional content and on patient preferences, as indicated by regular patient satisfaction surveys. Our menus are reviewed by our dietician,” explained Moore.
Currently, HWMH feeds approximately 100 hospital patients and long-term care residents in Edgewater Gardens, including three meals a day and snacks. Specific dietary needs are able to be met, including for conditions like diabetes or heart issues, or for those with cultural or religious requirements.
“(We) need to carefully direct our resources across all aspects of patient and resident care. We sometimes need to supplement fresh foods and home-made meals with frozen and canned products,” said Moore. “The lunch-time pizza item that was the subject of the social media discussion was baked and served on a warm, covered plate. It was accompanied by soup, salad, and a fresh fruit cup. This is one meal on our three-week meal rotation.”
Ultimately, Moore is disappointed to see the meal go viral for such negative reasons.
“We rarely hear complaints about the food served at the hospital and Edgewater Gardens and have not received any for several months. Patients and residents are generally very appreciative and supportive of the work done by our team, especially during this very challenging time,” concluded Moore. “We continue to work toward living up to our vision of ‘Best care, every person, every time’ and appreciate the ongoing support of our local community.”