Amsterdam: Hospital works to create trust in halal meals

Amsterdam: Hospital works to create trust in halal meals

The need for halal meals at the VU University Medical Center (VUmc) is growing due to the increase in the number of Muslim patients.   In the context of the interculturalization project, student Marije Bleumink mapped out all the factors in play between the patients and health-care personnel on the subject of nutrition.  There appears to be a lot of distrust.  Bleumink says that patients want to be sure that the halal food is really halal.

Bleumink says that there is a lot of information available about meals at VUmc, but the information about halal meals was sometimes ambiguous.  The menu form, for example, didn't explicitly say whether the meals were halal or not.  Patients didn't trust it.  Moreover, the first generation Muslim patients are used to having their family members take care of meals.  The VUmc can break this pattern by being more clear about the source and preparation of the meals.

The health-care personnel guarantees the quality of meals and the nutritional state of the patients in the care unit.  But knowledge and experience with the food regulations differs sharply between employees.  That nutrition assistants in the unit are responsible for nutrition and clearing bring up questions sometimes by patients.  And because the nurses and dietitians are also involved in nutrition, it's not always clear who has the final responsibility for meals in the unit.

Bleumink advised to improve communication with the patients and to retrain employees on the food regulations.  The recommendations have meanwhile been mostly implemented.

Source: Food Holland (Dutch)

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