The Importance of Nutrition
We believe that nutrition is a key component of overall well-being and recovery. Like any hospital[J1], our patients come to us with a wide variety of physical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, food allergies, eating disorders, and general malnutrition due to drug or alcohol use. In addition, the residents in our geriatric program have unique dietary requirements, including the need for softer foods and smaller portions.
Of course, these conditions may or may not be contributing to behavioral health concerns—but we know that we can’t help our patients recover from severe depression or substance use if we aren’t encouraging a healthy diet and taking care of their physical needs first.
Addressing the Dietary Concerns of our Adult Behavioral and Geriatric Patients
Our registered dietician, chef, and kitchen staff are able to meet the dietary needs of our inpatient adult behavioral patients and our geriatric residents with healthy and delicious home cooked meals. The meal program at Havenwood Behavioral Health relies heavily on local, in-season foods that are prepared fresh each day, allowing us to tailor meals to individual dietary restrictions and requirements.
We provide optimum nutrition for each of our patients by:
Paying Close Attention to Dietary Restrictions
We use a well-established meal service that sets the weekly menu for our facility and delivers quality, natural ingredients for our kitchen staff to prepare. Of course, not every meal will appeal to every patient—and some patients or residents may not be able to eat certain meals due to allergies, metabolic conditions, or physical limitations such as dentures. In these cases, our registered dietician is the connection between the meal provider and our residents’ clinical needs. Each week, our dietician carefully reviews the proposed menu and makes substitutions that take the dietary restrictions, and even the preferences, of individual residents into account while still ensuring that each meal contains the proper balance of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Focusing on Presentation
While preparing fresh foods in-house, our kitchen staff also likes to get creative with presentation. The main goal is to promote a more diverse diet for our patients, so our staff puts a lot of effort into figuring out how to present foods so that our residents will accept them.
Serving Finger Foods Regularly
Our patients love when we serve finger foods—they are fast, fun, and eliminate the need for utensils. Many of our residents can handle only small amounts of food at a time, and are more likely to eat enough if the food is served in easy to pick up, bite-sized pieces. Our weekly menu includes a 60/40 split between finger foods and traditional, plated meals.