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georgie

gluten-free In Hospital

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Georgie--it depends on the hospital. Go to the dietician before your hospital stay and ask questions. Find out what she/he knows. My sister is the dietician of a hospital and she is celiac--every employee in her kitchen knows how to feed a celiac. She has a special area all set up with gluten free supplies. She will be teaching another huge hospital how to care for a celiac or gluten intolerant. It's happening out there. If you do not trust them, have your food brought in.

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I will be in the hospital having a baby and called to talk to the dietician. She basically said that I should probably bring my own food, b/c they probably would get CC. If I want to risk it she said to make sure you tell EVERYONE you see that works there, every time you see them, that you have celiac and need gluten free meals. She didn't sound to confident in the kitchen though - just depends on the hospital.

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When I have been in the hospital for surgeries and a baby, I always end up bringing my own food. I make big meals and freeze them. The nurses will sometimes help out in the reheating or you can get it done yourself. They usually have a patient fridge on the floor.

When I had the baby, I went in and spoke to the dietician and preregistered and still every meal showed up with gluten - normal bread, toast, etc. Luckily I had packed some food before hand. I went to a speciality store and bought all kinds of gluten-free treats for me to have after the baby was born. Gotta eat well after that baby :)

When I had an emergency surgery, I had family go to the store and buy all the frozen gluten-free mac and cheese they could find. It worked. And they brought gluten-free soups too :)

The one time I spent the night in the hospital with someone else having the emergency surgery I was starving and bought scrambled eggs in the morning. I GOT SOOOO SICK!!! IT WAS AWFUL!!!!

So, in my opinion, hospitals mean well, and they try to get it right, but except for the one listed in the posts above, I just do not think hospitals can safely provide food to Celiacs. I am not sure I would trust eating as a patient with severe food allergies at any hospital.

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How do people cope with being gluten-free when a patient in Hospital ? Can you trust the catering ? What do you eat/ take along with you ?

I was told every time that you go into the hospital - you are to mention that the #1 reason of illness is celiac diease - then name the other reason you are there, that is the only way it gets into the computer as serious. Our hospital has gluten-free meals, but not sure of the X contam.

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I had to be in the hospital earlier this year for 3 days following surgery.

I ended up preparing and freezing meals in the days beforehand--my husband brought what I needed up to me. The nurses showed him a microwave he could use. I also brought a few things in my bag--snack bars, small cartons of broth, fruit, etc.

I would suggest talking to the people at the hospital at the time of your pre-op appointment. In my case, after discussing the situation, they thought it would be best for me to supply my own food--because of the risk of cross-contamination.

Everyone was very helpful and understanding--they wrote it on my chart 3 times (in different places) and my hospital bracelet was also marked "gluten intolerant" right along with my drug allergies.

Before I went home, the hospital dietition came to see me and we had a nice talk about the gluten-free diet and cross contamination. She even wrote down a few suggestions and ideas I had. :)

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When the the hospital I was at was finally able to feed me, but told that I needed a gluten-free diet, I found myself eating scrambled eggs and chicken broth for days until I asked my doctor to talk to the kitchen. From then on, the diet included a variety of foods, but was still very safe.

Ask your doctor to talk to the staff about your needs- they will do everything they can to keep you healthy in today's age of litigation. The reason I say "staff" and not "kitchen" is because the pharmacists, nurses, cooks, and anyone else who may be contributing to what goes into your body, need to know about your condition. At one point, I got sick and it turned out it was from a pill they were giving me. Swapping to IV form cleared up the effects.

I hope that you are happy with your care and that all goes well. Good Luck!

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How do people cope with being gluten-free when a patient in Hospital ? Can you trust the catering ? What do you eat/ take along with you ?

NO, NO, NO!!! I work in a hospital and I know for a fact the dietary department has absolutly no clue what gluten free means. I have been taking care of a Celiac patient for a MONTH!!! She just cant seem to get better. Yesterday, after I was off for 5 days I gave her her nourishment for the day. The dietician had sent up grahm crackers, yogert, and a beverage supplement. Of course I took the grahm crackers off of the tray and checked the yogert. Yep, the yogert did in deed have wheat! The staff reported she has been given this daily for the past three days!!!!! It has been the ONLY thing she was eating!!!! They were giving it to her because she has diareah!!! (I am an awful speller, sorry) Needless to say I did call down to the dietician, and wrote an incident report after I sent her back to the ICU once again.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER TRUST YOUR HEALTH OR YOUR CHILDS HEALTH TO ANYONE!!!! You are safer in a resturant than in the hospital when it comes to Celiac!

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My opinion is that if you have time before a hospital stay talk with the dietian and kitchen to determine if they can provide safe meals. If yes, bring along some gluten free food just in case. If not, make arrangements to bring your own meals.

If the hospitalization is not planned have someone bring in gluten free meals for you.

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Guest Happynwgal2

NO, NO, NO!!! I work in a hospital and I know for a fact the dietary department has absolutly no clue what gluten free means. I have been taking care of a Celiac patient for a MONTH!!! She just cant seem to get better. Yesterday, after I was off for 5 days I gave her her nourishment for the day. The dietician had sent up grahm crackers, yogert, and a beverage supplement. Of course I took the grahm crackers off of the tray and checked the yogert. Yep, the yogert did in deed have wheat! The staff reported she has been given this daily for the past three days!!!!! It has been the ONLY thing she was eating!!!! They were giving it to her because she has diareah!!! (I am an awful speller, sorry) Needless to say I did call down to the dietician, and wrote an incident report after I sent her back to the ICU once again.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER TRUST YOUR HEALTH OR YOUR CHILDS HEALTH TO ANYONE!!!! You are safer in a resturant than in the hospital when it comes to Celiac!

Wow, what a story! This goes right along with my greatest fear right now: what if I ended up in the hospital due to an emergency of some kind? I just got my medical records from a HUGE HMO that should know better: under my "continuing problems" there is NO mention of gluten! Imagine! NOTHING! I am furious, so during my 12 day vacation in early May I am writing them a letter, telling them to correct that, - that letter will be one they will not soon forget anyway, because they did nothing to help me diagnose my gluten intolerance. I had to figure it out myself and then go ask for a gluten test.

And to others who posted here: thanks for suggesting bringing your own food. Since I also cannot have dairy or yeast, my diet is very limited. If for any reason I would be in the hospital I certainly do not want to be even sicker because they do not feed me the proper food.... :(

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Hi, my name is David and i have been reading with interest all your comments, horrendous stories about hospitals and catering staff is not something that is exclusive to the USA, just click on the link and read some stories from the Irish Coeliac (Celiac) Society Message Board.

Link to stories

Best Regards, David

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Hi, my name is David and i have been reading with interest all your comments, horrendous stories about hospitals and catering staff is not something that is exclusive to the USA, just click on the link and read some stories from the Irish Coeliac (Celiac) Society Message Board.

Link to stories

Best Regards, David

this is off the subject, but I just thought I'd mention that your user name caught my eye. My family is from Ireland and their last name is Davey. (but I'm sure you use it because of David) Anyway, I like your user name and icon!

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i was in the hosp for 14 days and i had to be careful of the food they gave me, 1 time they put gravy on my food when they wasnt sup to so they had to reorder it, but other then that i was mosty on a clear flud dieit for my stomach pains

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I agree that it is always best to bring your own meals when staying in the hospital. You can never be sure if the meal that you are being served is really gluten free. Many nurses and dietary staff do not know which foods contain gluten and which foods are gluten free. They often forget that gravy and sauces contain gluten and will send you a tray with a meat and vegetable covered in gravy. I'm a nurse and have spent many evenings trying to scrape together meals for patients with celiac disease after dietary has sent them meals that are full of gluten. Unfortunately, sometimes all these patients end up with is a meal consisting of a carton of milk, jello and an apple. Trust me, you will be so much happier if you bring your own food. :)

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