Nunavut MLA wants patient boarding homes to serve country foods
“When something is wrong with your body, the person has to eat food that the body is most familiar with”
The Government of Nunavut needs to make sure patient boarding homes serve nutritious food to Inuit, Akulliq MLA John Ningark said in the Nunavut legislature Oct. 30.
“If you’ve had surgery, then your stomach also notices that. This is part of our Inuit traditional knowledge. When something is wrong with your body, the person has to eat food that the body is most familiar with,” he said.
Ningark, who directed his questions to Keith Peterson, Nunavut’s health minister, wanted to know if the menus in patient boarding homes are monitored by Peterson’s department.
“When we contract the contractors that operate the boarding homes, we do ask them to serve nutritious foods to our patients,” Peterson said in response to Ningark’s question.
Ningark, who asked whether the agreement to serve nutritious food is respected and follows Canada’s food guide, added that Inuit diets are different.
“We would ensure that the contractors serve nutritious foods. I know that most of the boarding homes also endeavour to serve country food to their guests when available,” Peterson said.
If people have a complaint about food in boarding homes, they should first complain to the patient boarding home, Peterson said, when Ningark asked where people could direct complaints.
“Obviously, the first level would be to the boarding home. If they have a problem with the food, if there’s a particular issue with a meal, bring it up with the boarding home executive director,” Peterson said.
His department is now developing a “patient travel complaints process” and revising it, and “until such time that occurs, there is a territorial patient complaints program in place,” he said.
Travel coordinators in each region would be pleased to take any concerns and pass them on, he said.
When Peterson receives complaints, he said he redirects them to officials who follow up “as expeditiously as they can.”