November 29, 2021

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Debate, City Council |  Disrespectful and disappointing power game from City Council

Debate, City Council | Disrespectful and disappointing power game from City Council

The frequent attacks on nursing home kitchens are provocative and disrespectful to all those who work hard to give seniors a good old age.

opinions This is the topic of discussion. The publication expresses the positions of the author.

The publication is signed by Anne Brit Reigstad, Olav Reikerås, Stig Torgersen, Thomas Flesland and Steinulf Tungesvik.

“If 60 per cent of all dogs in Oslo are malnourished, animal protection will always come in,” Oddvar Stenstrøm said during the discussion. It may look dark. Development goes in only one direction. Despite countless reports, strategies, and studies, the elderly are getting thinner and thinner, and suffer more and more from malnutrition every year.

On the other hand, we know that there are measures that help. Why does malnutrition happen? Yes, partly because of the poor quality of the food. What can we do about this? Quality increase. How do? There are of course many answers here, but one of them is to have your own production kitchens in nursing homes.

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Domestic production kitchens are better than central commercial kitchens. Studies show that residents of nursing homes and their relatives clearly prefer local production kitchens over central commercial kitchens. It is about, among other things, the feeling of closeness between those who eat food and those who make it. A meal has not only a purely practical function, but for most of us it is a particularly pleasant thing that binds us together. Thus a meal has an intrinsic value that is influenced by emotional aspects, such as what it looked like and how it came to be.

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Other studies show that commercial kitchens have much greater problems with delivering appropriate food, for example to those with chewing and swallowing difficulties, than a local produce kitchen.

Food is prepared from the kitchens of local production by our own kitchen staff. Food delivered from a commercial kitchen must, after delivery, be handled by health workers who are not necessarily sufficiently competent in preparing the food. One in three nursing home residents who receive “hot” food from a commercial kitchen can tell it was served cold.

When local production kitchens can better adapt the diet and nutrition to the population than the central commercial kitchen, they are preferred; Especially when we know that malnutrition is one of the biggest problems we face in aged care today.

Sp has been and remains very interested in the continuing operations of the nursing home Kolstihagen and Lyngbøtunet here in Bergen. For its part, the city council wants it closed and replaced with a central commercial kitchen. This is supposed to save the municipality 4.4 million kroner. There is little that can prove this particular number true, but we won’t go into more detail here. Instead, we’ll talk a little bit about why this particular proposal is so provocative.

As we have seen, there are many reasons for choosing the kitchen of domestic production, including working with individual adaptation. This is confirmed by the staff at the Kolstihagen nursing home: “We are a nursing home for short periods of time and often need to make changes in a short time. With our own kitchen, we can arrange things for the day,” explained Ann Beret Carlsen, unit manager for BT last year.

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The closure was proposed in the city council budget proposal for 2022. It was also suggested in the city council budget proposal for the last two years, 2020 and 2021. In both cases it was flatly rejected by us in Sp. If we ever thought the match was won, we should think again.

The city council is painfully aware that it is important for us at Sp to maintain the kitchens. At the same time, they know they are counting on our support and that of SV in City Council to get a majority for their proposed budget. So why is this happening again, knowing they won’t be done in budget negotiations with us?

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The pattern that has emerged leaves no room for doubt: the city council is suggesting that we fight for the same issues we did in previous years. We’ll probably be able to keep the kitchens this time as well, as we’ve always done, but we’ll have less time to negotiate a larger portion of the (potential) budget agreement. For us in the Sp, who had good cooperation with the city council parties and the SV in the previous budget negotiations, it is disappointing to see that the political power game is so prominent in the run-up to the negotiations.

The fact that we, as a political party and budget partner, find this frequent push to be provocative, is one thing. Even worse, the political game, disguised in the form of purely economic calculations, puts people’s work and lives at risk. Every time the city council proposes job closures, they make the future of dozens of employees completely unpredictable. Every fall, in 2019, 2020 and now in 2021, from about September to December, employees ask themselves if they have work to go to next year. The city council power game is disrespectful to all those who work hard to give our seniors a good old age.

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Perhaps it is time to ensure the operating assets of the nursing homes in Kolstihagen and Lyngbøtunet remain permanent in perpetuity. One thing is for sure: Sp also won’t support a proposal to shut down this time either.