One hot 'Meal on Wheels' a day is all some ask for or get


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Why is it, when the upper tiers of government are touting party lines of providing more 'in-home health care', that our local health unit(s) have decided to discontinue a vital service ... hot 'Meals on Wheels' in two community hospitals|?

This is a self-sustaining service where recipients pay for one hot meal a day delivered by volunteers.  In many cases, this is the ONLY hot meal these people have in a day.  Some divide their meal into two smaller ones because, for whatever reasons, they are unable to get out on their own ... some have never driven and some can no longer drive due to age or illness and, therefore, they try to conserve even the one meal that they get in a day.

Most of the recipients have dietary restrictions due to conditions such as diabetes, renal problems and others.  What better place to have meals prepared for such conditions than in a local hospital kitchen.

It's not as though this is a new program.  In rural hospitals, it has been on-going for well over 20 years and, yet, those higher powers within the system have made the decision to discontinue it.

Why?  They say it's because they are not in "the restaurant business".  This is far from a restaurant business.  This is about ensuring that those who need it have a healthier lifestyle.  This is about helping those who should probably be in a hospital setting stay in their own homes.  This is about providing safe, nutritious meals to those in need. 

Isn't this what local community hospitals are supposed to be about?  They are a part of the community and, as such, should be exactly that.

It isn't as though we are talking about 100 meals, or ever 50.  Within Saugeen Shores, it means approximately 10 - 15 meals between Southampton and Port Elgin.  How difficult is it to prepare 10 - 15 trays?  According to on-the-ground sources, it's not.  A hospital kitchen is set up to do just that.

The higher-ups say that restaurants can pick up the service.  How many restaurants want to deal with medical issues when it comes to meal preparation? Until recently, it has been difficult to acquire  vegetarian or gluten free meals when dining out let alone having meals that cater to individual medical conditions.  If I were a restaurant owner, I would be very hesitant about such an undertaking.

Perhaps, those in the health-care system who have recently made the 'Sunshine List', once again, (those earning well over $100,000 and $200,000/yr.) should take a second look at a program that provides one hot meal a day to those who are trying to stay in their own homes ... against all odds.



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Thursday, April 21, 2011