Kemptville District Hospital Achieves Bronze Status in the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals Initiative

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A longtime leader in offering healthy food choices to its staff, visitors and patients, the small Eastern Ontario hospital has been recognized for its commitment to helping reduce rates of chronic illness by creating an environment where the healthy food choice is the easy choice.

We know that providing healthy food choices for the members of the communities we serve is an important way to reduce risk factors for chronic disease. -Frank Vassallo

Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) has been recognized for its commitment to providing a healthy work environment and promoting healthy lifestyle choices among staff, visitors and patients.

The hospital has achieved Bronze status in the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals initiative, which sees hospitals across the region making healthier food available in their cafeterias, gift shops, vending machines and franchise operations.

The aim of the program is to reduce rates of chronic illness such as heart disease, stroke and cancer by creating an environment where the healthy food choice is the easy choice.

For KDH, achieving Bronze status meant creating nutritional labels for all coffee shop and vending machine items made on site, increasing the availability of whole grains, vegetables and fruit, reducing sodium in soups, and decreasing portion sizes of high-calorie beverages.

KDH was able to achieve Bronze status in a relatively short time, as the hospital’s food offerings already met many of the criteria. Andrea Corbett, KDH’s Manager of Dietary Services, explained: “KDH was always a step ahead in providing healthier foods to our staff, visitors and patients - about eight years ago we decommissioned our deep fryer, and five years ago we stopped selling chocolate bars, chips and pop.”

This award was made possible by the hard work of the hospital’s dietary department in cooperation with the KDH Auxiliary, who operate the hospital’s popular coffee bar. Volunteer Brenda Steacy, the coffee bar’s food manager, expressed her thanks to staff, physicians and volunteers for being open to the changes.

“I think the most noticeable difference for us has been that we’ve replaced our former soups with lower sodium, lower fat versions,” she said. “I know some of our regulars preferred the original recipes, and we are grateful for their patience as we’ve worked to find soups that are flavorful as well as healthy.”

All 20 hospitals in the Champlain LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) are participating in the Healthy Foods initiative, spearheaded by the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network, housed at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. KDH is one of seven hospitals that have achieved Bronze status to date; none have yet achieved Silver or the top level, Gold.

Two representatives of the Healthy Foods initiative were on hand November 5, when the hospital held a celebration to mark the achievement. Laurie Dojeiji and Andra Taylor of the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network presented the official Bronze Status plaque to Corbett, Steacy, and Bev Cecchini, the KDH Auxiliary’s coffee bar and gift shop manager.

The hospital’s new CEO, Frank Vassallo, is pleased to see KDH taking a leadership role in this initiative. “As a hospital, I believe we have a responsibility to be a role model,” he said. “We know that providing healthy food choices for the members of the communities we serve is an important way to reduce risk factors for chronic disease.”

“What’s more,” he added, “promoting healthy food choices in the workplace supports the health and wellbeing of our staff, and enables them to deliver the best possible patient care.”

About Kemptville District Hospital

Kemptville District Hospital is Accredited with Exemplary Standing, the highest ranking bestowed by Accreditation Canada. Committed to building healthier communities, we are a model of hospital-led integrated health services within the provincial health system. Kemptville District Hospital consistently ranks among the top hospitals in Ontario for both patient and employee satisfaction. We pride ourselves on being a good partner within the system. Kemptville District Hospital provides primary care management services, acute care hospital services, and advanced orthopaedic care.

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Jenny Read
Kemptville District Hospital
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