ONCA Conference Copenhagen Creating Equality in Nutritional Care

Principle-based document helps hospitals organize nutritional care in line with the ESPEN guidelines.

Hospital Food is a subject of endless discussion in the Czech Republic. Patients, mainly new mothers, have been sending pictures of dishes served in hospitals to the Minister, asking for a change. This subject attracted the Minister’s attention. While nutrition care standards have been developed by many Czech hospitals, a nutrition care standard on a national level did not exist since the national standard of hospital food was last revised in 1991. 

Press conference announcing the New Standards, Minister Adam Vojtech is present

In 2019, the Minister of Health initiated preparations of a new national standard under the professional supervision of SKVIMP (CzechSPEN) and the Czech Association of Dietitians (CAD), two key stakeholders of the Alliance for Nutrition Care. The Minister of Health mediated the cooperation with over 20 state hospital facilities. As a first step, a survey was conducted in order to determine the nutritional care level and status of hospitals. The results of the survey have been subjected to discussion with hospital representatives during several working sessions at the Ministry. At the same time, the new standards outline was agreed upon. In the next phase, the team of experts worked on the content of the new standards. Their proposal underwent a comment procedure both at the Ministry of Health and at the participating hospitals. The final version was endorsed and issued by the Ministry of Health at the end of September 2020. The Covid pandemic delayed the planned launch of the document. Finally, in June 2021, the press conference could be held in the Prague General University Hospital. The Minister confirmed his interest in the improvement of nutritional care with his presence at the event. Journalists were offered an opportunity to taste the new hospital dishes.

Example of the hospital lunch and dinner prepared according to the New Standards

The “New Czech National Standards of Hospital Food and Nutrition Care” is a principle-based document that aims to help hospitals organize nutritional care in line with the ESPEN guidelines and brings a simplified overview of hospital diets and their indications. Most importantly, it includes guidance on a basic diet that aligns with common nutrition guidelines for a healthy population

Download the New Czech National Standards of Hospital Food and Nutrition Care

New Czech National Standards of Hospital Food and Nutrition Care

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Moving forward

In the summer of 2021, an additional survey among the participating hospitals was conducted, aiming to evaluate how successful they have been implementing the new standards, what obstacles they had to overcome, and which good practices the hospitals can share. The survey revealed a need to increase the availability of clinical dietitians and develop and share new, more attractive menus. The expert team of authors continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health on this project.

Ivana Pražanová Communication Coordinator Czech Republic

Clinical Dietitian, Thomayer Hospital, Prague

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