On July 6th, 2012, Amanda gave birth to our first child. This meant that Amanda had quite the experience in Alberta's healthcare system. Her experience was specifically at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, but the gluten free eating tips at the hospital I am going to share can probably be related to other hospitals in the Alberta Health Services region such as the University of Alberta Hospital.
So first off, yes, Alberta Health Services does have gluten free meals for its patients. They have everything from gluten free rice cereal to gluten free bread for you, and full savoury meals (I snuck some of Amanda's dinner and it tasted good, go figure). So if you are at the Royal Alexandra Hospital or other hospitals they can accommodate your diet. So here are some tips to ensure you do get your gluten free meals to accommodate your diet for Celiac Disease.
Good healthcare starts with good communication. This is a mantra from my employer, and is very true. What does this mean? It means to Ask, Listen, Talk every step of the away of your care. Amanda was transferred between several units during the birthing process of our baby girl. That meant a lot of changing hands of files, and we needed to ask questions, and talk to the nurses and staff about her Celiac Disease. We wanted to make sure they were on top of her diet as best as possible.
Be prepared that they may not get you the gluten free meals right away. It took until the next day for them to get Amanda a gluten free meal. We were not sure why, but I imagine it had something to do with the way Food Services works at the hospital (They serve 30,000 meals a day across the province). So if you know you are going in, bring some snacks and food for you to get by until they sort out your meals. If you are going in an emergency, don't bother right away, you obviously have bigger fish to fry, and when the dust settles, you can have someone bring you some food until the hospital gets the gluten free meals setup for you.
Not everyone knows what Alberta Health Services, Food Services can provide. We were told several different things from different people at the hospital. One nurse said they could not accommodate the gluten free diet. But they obviously could! So remind them you require a gluten free diet, and to let food services know, because they will send you a gluten free meal.
Although I hope you never need to go to the hospital for anything bad, I hope that these tips help you out to your next visit into our healthcare system.