WDHB introduces new Meals on Wheels menu ideal for all ages


16 October 2018

Left to right: Meals on Wheels driver Dorothy Withers with nutritionist Emma Verhoek.

Whanganui Hospital’s Meals on Wheels Service has a new menu with a modern twist which dietitians believe will appeal to people of all ages wanting to have their main meal of the day delivered to them.

Pesto chicken pasta, hoisin ginger pork and tandoori beef are some of the more interesting meals that sit alongside traditional options such as crumbed fish and meatballs – all delivered with vegetables and complimentary desserts for $6.70 including GST.

But better still, meals can be individualised to suit the client’s taste and dietary requirements and judging by the feedback, most are considered delicious by those receiving them.

Spotless Services Ltd food service manager and clinical dietitian Natasha Wilkes says the hospital’s Meals on Wheels Service has come a long way in recent years.

“I’m proud of the fact that my team and I have been able to move with the times to provide a menu with wide appeal,” Ms Wilkes says. “Contrary to what some may think, Meals on Wheels are designed for people of any age who need assistance to maintain their independence at home or people such as busy mothers struggling to eat a balanced diet as they juggle babies and toddlers.”

The service offers:

  • fresh, hot cooked meals Monday – Friday (including dessert)
  • meals delivered to the door thus providing daily contact with the deliverer
  • frozen meals for weekends, if required
  • a menu designed by clinical dietitians
  • meals that cater for special diets including vegetarian, soft, minced, moist, high energy, gluten free, dairy free or pureed
  • meals ideal for those unable to prepare a hot meal without assistance, those who have no family or caregiver to assist with meal preparation and those requiring provision of a regular meal to help maintain their health and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

Ms Wilkes says the hospital’s Meals on Wheels Service is grateful for the ongoing help it receives from Age Concern who organise the drivers. Because it’s a ‘job’ people often do for many years, some get to know their clients quite well and the ongoing contact is enjoyed by both parties.

“An added benefit is out-of-town family members knowing that their relation or close friend is being visited on a regular basis by a reliable person who will notice anything out of the ordinary about their client’s condition or circumstances,” Ms Wilkes says.

“Contrary to popular thinking that our clients are elderly, we also have clients in much younger age groups whose family are gifting them meals to help them while they recover from an illness or through periods where they might be particularly busy and therefore in danger of not looking after themselves as well as they should be. It gives their family and/or friends peace of mind to know that they are eating at least one nourishing meal a day.

“Clients can arrange meal delivery by phoning me on 06 348 3106 and we also take referrals from GPs, social workers and a range of health professionals working for the DHB or out in the community.”