Food

Buying meals day after day in the hospital cafeteria is expensive. Check with the hospital social worker to find out if the hospital has food discount cards or free meal trays for parents. Many of the food items available in the cafeteria deserve the notorious reputation of "hospital food." Check to see if the floor has a refrigerator for parents food and stock it from home. Remember to put your name in a prominent place on your containers.

Our hospital provides vouchers for the cafeteria that can be used instead of ordering food for the room. For us, they have been a godsend. The food on the tray is much worse than what is in the cafeteria. Also, oncology patients have no spending cap on the vouchers, so we can get a few extras. When our son is not up to going to the cafeteria, we go down and bring it up.

Many hospitals have cooking facilities for families where they can cook or microwave favorite meals brought from home. Ask family and friends to bring food in when they visit, and consider ordering extra items to come up on your child's tray. Ordering out for dinner can also be a nice change of pace for you and your child. As long as there are no medical restrictions, there's no reason why pizza can't be delivered to the hospital. Ask the nurses if they have menus from local restaurants.

Just the smell of food nauseated my daughter I'll never forget taking the tray out in the hall and gobbling the food down myself. I always felt so guilty, and thought that the staff viewed me as that parent who ate her kid's food. But it saved money and prevented her meals from going to waste. I also did not want to leave her side for the few minutes it took to go to the cafeteria although, in hindsight, the walk would have done me some good.

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