Don’t assume that hospital food is safe! You need to inform hospital staff about your food allergy and ask questions just as you would at a restaurant or café.
Examples of questions you might ask include:
- How does the hospital identify patients with food allergy?
- What protocols are in place to provide appropriate meals for patients with food allergy?
- Where is the food prepared, how is it labelled, are ingredients listed and who checks it at the bedside?
- Can the hospital cater for people with food allergy or do they need to bring their own food?
- If a person brings food into the hospital, can it be stored appropriately and safely (e.g. in a fridge or freezer) and can it be heated without risk of cross contamination with other foods? What is the hospital policy about bringing food from home?
Make sure you take your adrenaline (epinephrine) injectors with you to hospital and let medical staff (doctors and nurses) know you have them with you. They must be easily accessible at all times and not locked at the nurse’s station. If not kept at patients’ bedside, all staff must be aware of where the adrenaline injectors and ASCIA Action Plan are.
Clarify with staff how to call for urgent help.
Clarify with staff what happens if adults with food allergy are impaired (e.g. drug affected, post-operative, in pain), who will check their meal content?
If children are admitted, plan who is going to check their meal content and then supervise meals.
If the child has to share a room, make sure others (including parents/carers and visitors of other children) are notified about your child’s food allergy and the importance of not sharing food