Guidelines for bringing food to hospital patients

Ensuring proper nutrition for good health

At Matilda International Hospital, we place great importance on providing high-quality, safe, and nutritious food to support the well-being of our patients, delivering meals that are not only nourishing but also appetizing. Whether it's specialized diets for specific dietary requirements like vegetarian menus or meals tailored to address health conditions such as diabetes, food allergies, or swallowing problems, we are dedicated to meeting our patients' nutritional needs.


Bringing food into the hospital

As it is essential to adhere to required food standards, we kindly request that visitors refrain from bringing outside food or drinks for patients.The hospital cannot accept responsibility for storing, heating, or serving items prepared outside our catering facilities.

However, we do understand that relatives and caregivers may wish to bring food or drinks for their loved ones. In such cases, it is crucial to ensure that the items are safe and suitable for consumption. We strongly recommend checking with our dietitian, nurse, midwife, or related specialist before bringing any outside food or drinks into the hospital.


Preventing food poisoning

Food poisoning poses a significant risk to patients, especially those who are elderly, recovering from surgery, or have compromised immune systems. This condition occurs when food containing harmful levels of bacteria or toxins is consumed.

Guidelines to follow if you are planning to prepare food for patients in hospital:

  • Always prioritize hand hygiene by thoroughly washing your hands before handling food.
  • To prevent contamination, remember to keep raw foods (such as raw meat, poultry, and fish) separate from ready-to-eat food.
  • Maintain cleanliness in your kitchen by regularly cleaning utensils like knives, saucepans, and chopping boards.
  • Avoid preparing food too far in advance to maintain its freshness and quality.
  • If you're not feeling well, please refrain from preparing food for hospital patients.
  • To prevent bacterial growth, it is essential to store and transport hot and cold food items at the appropriate temperatures:
    • Cold food should be maintained at 4°C or below, and if it has been left out of the fridge for more than two hours, it should be discarded. During transportation, it is advisable to use a securely sealed insulated container with an ice pack to preserve the cold temperature.
    • Hot foods, on the other hand, must reach a minimum temperature of 70°C to eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. They should be consumed within four hours of being prepared. To keep hot food steaming during transportation, a well-sealed thermos or insulated container is recommended.
  • When reheating food, never do so more than once

By following these guidelines, you can help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.


Selecting appropriate food types

Please find below lists of foods that are processed or whole and can be safely kept, and those that should not be brought in for patients as they may carry a higher risk of harmful bacteria.

Safe food options include:

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Biscuits
  • Fresh bread
  • Muesli bars
  • Dried or thoroughly washed fresh fruit
  • Plain cakes or muffins without cream or custard filling
  • Bottled and canned beverages
  • Tea and coffee
  • Spreads such as jam or honey
  • Canned or packaged foods


However, it is crucial to avoid certain foods that fall under the unsafe category. These include:

  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Raw mushrooms
  • Raw meat and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Cold rice
  • Pre-sliced deli meats
  • Purchased salads
  • Fruit salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Soft-serve ice cream
  • Soft cheeses such as camembert, ricotta, fetta, and blue-vein
  • Unpasteurized dairy products like raw milk or yogurt and Roquefort cheese


As a courtesy to other patients, strong smelling foods should not be brought into the hospital as these may be offensive, especially to people who are unwell.

By adhering to these guidelines, we can prioritize the health and well-being of our patients. Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to the hospital at 2849 0111.