Alberta improves food for seniors. But not Ontario

Pre-cooked food will no longer be trucked in to Alberta's smaller long term care homes.  

Alberta Health Services shut down the kitchens in LTC homes with fewer than 125 beds two years ago to cut costs, the Calgary Herald reports. Meals were instead prepared off-site (sometimes outside the province) often using "flash freezing" techniques.

But complaints about the taste and nutritional value of the food have spurred the Health Minister to order the Alberta Heath Services to serve home-cooked menu items in all of its 73 long-term care facilities by the end of this year to improve the taste, appearance and variety of food.

The Health Minister said residents and seniors advocacy groups have "told us clearly that preparing food off-site and reheating it does not meet expectations . . . and we are taking actions to change that".  

Alberta Health Services plans to have a strategy by October for all facilities.

The problems are much the same in Ontario: highly processed food manufactured in distant factories has become very common in Ontario health care facilities.  

While a few hospitals have begun to make some changes, there is little leadership from the Ontario government on this, other than the odd initiative.

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