Hospitalization is nearly always the result of a sudden, unexpected event. So how do you plan ahead to keep yourself safe in the event that a health emergency lands you in the nearest emergency room? What steps can you take to stay healthy in the hospital as a celiac or gluten-sensitive patient?

Thanks to a listener suggestion and Nadine’s recent experience with a client recovering from surgery, the Gluten Free RN is addressing the cross-contamination risk in hospital kitchens and the nutrient-deficient foods available in hospital gift shops and vending machines. She also covers the responsibilities of the pharmacist to ensure that medications are gluten-free as well as resources you can use to verify that your prescriptions are safe.

Listen in as Nadine explains the significance of having an advocate with you at the hospital, who can prevent inadvertent gluten exposure and bring in the nutrient-dense food you need to heal. Learn how to communicate your needs as a celiac patient to resistant doctors, nurses, pharmacists and RDs, and plan ahead to stay safe and healthy—even when you’re in the vulnerable position of being in the hospital.    

What’s Discussed: 

Why celiac patients should be skeptical of gluten-free menus in the hospital

  • Nadine has patient in hospital for hip surgery
  • Found out food all cooked on same grill
  • Risk of cross-contamination very high
  • Gluten protein extremely heat stable
  • Made arrangements to bring in safe food

The quality of food available in hospitals

  • Gift shops, kitchens and vending machines ‘abysmal’
  • Often nutrient-deficient, high in gluten
  • Gas station lineup of junk food

How to verify that medications are gluten-free

The role of the pharmacist in providing gluten-free medication

  • Job to ensure safety
  • Should never say ‘don’t have time,’ pass responsibility to patient
  • Must check prescriptions, over-the-counter meds, topical treatments
  • Enteral supplements (through tube) must be checked as well

What you can do to communicate your needs to hospital staff

The significance of having an advocate

  • Friend/family member, fellow support group member or paid advocate
  • Provide access to safe food brought in (too many variables in hospital)
  • Can speak for you when vulnerable (e.g.: crackers after surgery)
  • Assign person before in position to need (sudden, unexpected events)

Gluten-free options for patients on a liquid or soft food diet

  • Bone broth
  • Soup with vegetables

 The role of nutrient-dense food in healing the body

  • Bring 100% gluten-free ‘safe stash’ to hospital
  • Refer to Nadine’s list of nutrient-dense options
  • Remember products labeled gluten-free = < 20ppm (not zero)

The Catch 22 of gluten and hospitals

  • Getting hit with gluten can put in hospital (i.e.: dehydration, GI bleed)
  • Difficult to stay gluten-free in hospital
  • Already at-risk to get sicker

How antibiotics affect your system

  • Wipe out good normal flora along with bad bacteria
  • Need good probiotics, fermented foods to reestablish microbiome

 

Resources:

Gluten Free Drugs Website

Dough Nation by Nadine Grzeskowiak

Emergency Preparedness with Nutrient Dense Foods

Gluten Free RN Episode 15

GIG Resource: Hospital Stays Made Safe

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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