12/29/2014 11:31 EST | Updated 12/29/2014 11:59 EST

Pioneer Village Nursing Home Dinner Not A Meal Dietitian Would Have Approved

Darlene Mitchell/Facebook

The Christmas dinner served to a Regina nursing home resident is not a meal one dietitian would have approved.

Michelle Archer, a Regina dietitian who reviews meal plans for long-term care homes, told CBC Saskatchewan she wouldn't be comfortable serving the dinner, which consisted of cold sandwich meat, a bun and macaroni salad, if she was in charge.

"When I saw that plate I thought, 'there's no colour.' And the colour brings in the vitamins and the minerals in the diet so that was concerning to me," she said.

The photo of the senior's meal went viral after Regina resident Darlene Mitchell shared it on her Facebook page. Mitchell told CJME she took the photo during a Christmas Day visit with her 83-year-old father at the Pioneer Village long-term care home in Regina.

"I don't ever want to walk in and see senior citizens slumped over eating sandwich meat on Christmas Day. That's what you'd give a dog," she said.

Mitchell told CJME this wasn't the first meal she'd seen her father eat that did not seem nutritious, and she wants someone to be held accountable.

Widespread outrage over the meal also prompted Saskatchewan NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon to weigh in, saying the food was not acceptable.

For their part, the provincial government said Pioneer Village served a turkey meal for lunch. The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region, which is responsible for the care home, also said that the facility often serves a lighter meal at dinner to balance out a bigger one at midday.

Pioneer Village is the largest care home in the province with 390 beds and 143 low income/subsidized housing apartments for seniors.

The region's long-term care homes follow provincial guidelines, which state that residents must be offered nutritious meals that follow the Canada Food Guide. Meal plans should also be developed in consultation with a registered dietitian.

Michael Redenbach, vice-president of integrated health services for the health region, told CBC Pioneer Village does work with a dietitian to create its meal plans, but he finds it unreasonable to expect one meal to provide all the nutrition that one person needs.

Archer disagreed.

"When it comes to a facility that provides 100 per cent of the nutrition, such as a long-term care facility, each meal should have all four of the food groups," she said to CBC News.


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