Why are Hospitals Unequiped to Handle Celiac?

With as prevalent as Celiac Disease is, most would assume that large hospitals would be able to supply a small amount of gluten free options.

However, as my health struggles continue and I visit more and more hospitals, I am constantly baffled at the ignorance of Celiac in the healthcare system.

As someone who is in multiple hospital systems, it constantly scares me how little the cafeterias and snack stations are equipped to handle Celiac Disease. While there are plenty “gluten free” options, there are hardly any Celiac safe options.

On one particularly bad experiences, I arrived at a hospital cafeteria in between appointments, and left with only a banana and bag of chips. These were the only safe options in the entire area.  While there was a salad bar, it was directly next to the sandwich station, and the box containing the croutons was overflowing, a few spilling into the other boxes. The counter was covered in crumbs from sandwich preparation, and the rest of the items on the menu were baked goods, which clearly weren’t gluten free. The employees offered to make me a salad without croutons and with new tongs, but at that point, it didn’t matter. With a makeshift Subway station right next to lettuce container, there was no chance of getting a safe meal.

Since Celiacs make up 1% of the population, it’s crazy to think that most of the hospitals I’ve seen have little to no Celiac safe options, but I guess I can’t be too surprised since Celiac is still so widely unknown. I’m hoping that during this current Celiac Awareness Month, we can take steps to change this ignorance within our own communities, and as time passes, we can help make the world a little bit more Celiac friendly.

One Reply to “Why are Hospitals Unequiped to Handle Celiac?”

  1. Sadly, this is true. I had open heart surgery and during the week of recovery, I was often offered food with regular saltine crackers, soup with pasta (I didn’t order any pasta-based soup!), or food that should be gluten free but served in a very porous plastic bowl that had likely contained a gluten-containing food. I tried in several ways to contact the head of food services at this LARGE hospital and kept running into brick walls as NO one knew who I should contact. The end result is that I lost more weight than I would have had they been able to provide me with food besides bananas and GF yogurt. If hospitals/food service departments that need help, there are resources to help such as The Great Kitchens Program – https://www.greatgfkitchens.org – that can help educate them on how to do it right. Until then, if you have to be in a s hospital setting, arrange in advance for friends and family to feed you.

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