There was a lot of food for thought in the HealthAchieve November 6th session: Bon Appétit – Sustainable Food in the Healthcare Environment. Missed it? Fear not, we’ve got the goods below, starting with a biggie:
Climate Change Resiliency
With rising extreme weather events associated with climate change, we see a “disruption of operations and the supply chain”. Food may not reach the hospital and may not be able to be prepared, stored or served safely it to patients. Stewart Dankner and Ed Rubinstein of University Health Network talked about how hospitals can assess and prepare for climate-related emergencies and any emergencies for that matter. With some planning and partnering, you can secure food and water best practices. Need help starting? Look to the resources at the Canadian Coalition for Green Healthcare.
Does Your Food Have a Drug Problem? Antibiotics Stewardship
Jennifer Reynolds of Food Secure Canada spoke about how to champion antibiotic stewardship (for hospitals or at home) by buying meat raised without antibiotics. We’ve heard the call in medicine to reduce unnecessary antibiotics prescribed to people, but there is an even bigger problem on our plates (for omnivores, at least). “Approximately 80% of antimicrobial drugs sold in Canada are for use with animals” (Health Canada). The stakes (steaks?) are high, as we could end up in a world where antibiotics don’t work anymore. It is far less expensive to buy better (and less) meat than to treat antimicrobial resistant infections. This is especially timely during “World Antibiotics Awareness Week” (Nov 13-19).
Project SOIL: Gardens as Health Care at Ontario Institutions
Irena Knezevic of Carleton University talked about one of my favorite subject … gardens in health care. They benefit far beyond the aesthetic for patient therapy, wellness and staff satisfaction. Stay tuned for her presentation to be made available to the public.
You Are What You Eat: Food as Medicine, Culture, and Health
Hayley Lapalme of Nourish spoke about the links between patient health and food that “recognizes the cultural dimensions of health and healing”. Culturally appropriate food offerings can also help with reconciliation for Canada’s indigenous population. Hospitals are perfectly positioned to build a resilient regional food system. “Food in care is a low cost, high value intervention to create a better patient experience” since a little extra investment would go a long way towards increased patient satisfaction.
As session chair, HealthAchieve was a fantastic experience. I really enjoyed learning from my colleagues in this session and beyond. For more 2017 HealthAchieve speaker presentations, see here. Enjoy!