Montreal hospital caters to Indigenous patients by adding bannock to meal trays


An expertise with a affected person who would not eat as a result of the meals reminded him of residential faculty has prompted a Montreal hospital to begin providing bannock bread to its Indigenous patients.

Julie Woodfine, a psychiatry liaison nurse on the McGill University Health Centre, stated the thought was sparked after a 69-year-old Cree affected person from Chisasibi was hospitalized after present process most cancers surgical procedure.

“I worked several years up north,” Woodfine said in an interview this week. “I’m somewhat familiar with the First Nations and Inuit diet. And I knew that bannock was a very important part of their diet. It’s their traditional bread, and it’s also a comforting type of food.”

Dr. Marie-Josée Brouillette, a psychiatrist on the hospital, stated affected person George Matches knowledgeable hospital workers final fall that he was refusing to eat as a result of the meals on the hospital introduced again reminiscences of residential faculty.

“We felt awful. I didn’t know that food could be such a loaded issue,” stated Brouillette. “And that, in actual fact, simply by making an attempt to feed a affected person, it creates an expertise that reminds them of a trauma.”

Woodfine stated that earlier than approaching the hospital along with her concept of together with conventional meals for Indigenous patients, she consulted with the hospital’s Indigenous interpreters to get their enter.

Next, Woodfine contacted Maryse Fournier, the supervisor of meals providers on the hospital, to devise the best recipe for the patients.

“We reached out to our partners, and they were super nice. They shared some recipes. We also reached out to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Centre in Ontario, where they have already added the bannock to offer to their patients. But we are the first hospital in Quebec to do it,” Fournier stated in an interview.

The meals providers staff pored over 10 recipes, analyzing the substances, dietary restrictions, the tools wanted to make the bread and the feasibility of integrating bannock in a big kitchen manufacturing setting.

“We organized taste panels. We were lucky to have some First Nations interpreters …. We had some psychiatrists who joined also. We all tested the recipes, and we all liked them,” Fournier stated.

Most Indigenous communities in Canada have a model of bannock. For instance, the Inuit name it palauga, whereas the Mi’kmaq understand it as luskinikn. For now, the bannock is made solely twice per week, and hospital workers are prioritizing the bread for Indigenous patients.

Nakuset, the founding father of Resilience Montreal, a non-profit day shelter serving First Nations communities in Montreal, known as the initiative a superb first step.

She stated many individuals from Indigenous communities throughout Quebec come to Montreal for well being care, however there are quite a lot of apprehensions as a result of they fear about discrimination and isolation within the province’s well being system.

“I think that people who have to travel and come to the hospitals here in Montreal, they could be very anxious and worried, and imagine being served bannock,” she said. “It is like, wow, that’s really grounding, because it’s something of their culture, and that will turn it into a positive experience.”

Matches died in January. But his 4 daughters, Elizabeth, Dinah, June and Nancy Matches, advised The Canadian Press by e-mail that they had been honoured the hospital began this initiative due to their father.

“We, the daughters of George Matches, would love to thank MUHC for making this doable for the Indigenous folks which might be hospitalized there to have a little bit one thing from house,” they stated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 22, 2022.  


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here