Inpatient Nutrition Services | VA Madison Health Care

Wound Care

Our Dietitians have a vital role in educating patients on healthy eating to promote wound healing. They will take into consideration macro and micronutrient needs, patient’s medical history, food preferences, laboratory data, possible food-drug interactions and food preferences among other factors. Dietitians develop a nutrition assessment and individualized recommendations to make sure patients meet their nutritional needs. Dietitians at the Madison VA Hospital are also part of a Wound Care Committee that meets monthly to discuss care issues with nurses and physical therapists.

Nutrition Support

There are times when people may not be able to eat and drink enough to maintain their nutrition. When this happens, nutrition must be supplied in a different way. One method is “enteral nutrition” or “tube feeding”. When this is needed, a temporary or permanent tube may be placed through the nose or in the abdomen. A special liquid food mixture is prescribed to flow through this tube and give you the protein, energy, vitamins and minerals you need.

If people are unable to eat at all or are not absorbing your food well, you may need “parenteral nutrition”. In this case a special IV is placed in the large veins near your heart. A intravenous (IV) fluid designed for you will flow through this access and provide your protein, energy, vitamin, mineral, and electrolyte needs.

With both enteral nutrition and parenteral nutrition, you dietitian works with the physician to make sure that you are receiving adequate nutrients, electrolytes and fluid. The dietitian will also work with you when you are ready to transition back to a normal diet. If you request these treatments at home, you will continue to be followed by a dietitian to make sure they are working well for you.

Nutrition Call Center

We currently offer room service for patients who have been determined as appropriate to order. Patients are provided with our room service menus as well as having the option to order from our house menu. We currently do not offer room service for our modified texture diets but hope to include patients on the easy chew diet to order room service when we transition to IDDSI diets (International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative).

For patients who are not on room service, you may request to see a dietitian or dietetic technician regarding food preferences or other nutrition concerns at any time during your stay at the VA. Tell your nurse or doctor so a dietitian or technician can be contacted right away.

All orders that come through the nutrition call center are reviewed by a nutrition team member (Nutrition Ambassador, Dietetic Technician, Registered Dietitian) to ensure they match your diet order, fit food preferences that are on file, and do not contain anything you are allergic to. We take special care to honor special diets related to cultural & religious preferences as well.

Snacks and Supplements

Snacks or nutritional supplements may be provided for you between meals while you are in the hospital to meet your nutritional needs. A Clinical Dietitian or Dietetic Technician can see you in the hospital if needed or requested to set up an individualized meal plan for special needs or to meet nutrition goals. Supplemental feedings or nourishments can be provided up to three times per day between meals at 10am, 2pm, and/or 8pm while you are in the hospital if it is part of your nutrition plan or to meet your needs. Snacks or supplements may be beneficial if you have the following nutrition goals: weight gain if you are underweight, consume adequate nutrition if you fill up fast or have a poor appetite, or have increased needs for healing, etc. If you do qualify for provision of high calorie/protein supplements at home, a nutrition plan and goals will be set up by a Registered Dietitian. You will need to follow up in the nutrition clinic to receive refills as you work on these goals and to see if your plan is still working for you.

Inpatient Meal Times

Our goal is to provide healthy and appetizing meals for our Veteran inpatients.

Patient Meal Times

Non-Select Meals are sent at the Standard Meal Times, if entered by these cut-off times:
Breakfast Order Cut-Off: 6:00 am
Noon Order Cut-Off: 10:00 am
Evening Order Cut-Off: 3:30 pm

Standard Meal Delivery Times:
Breakfast Delivery: 7:25-8:15am
Lunch Delivery: 11:35am-12:35pm
Dinner Delivery: 4:55-5:55pm

New Orders & Diet Changes:
Inpatient Veterans on a non-select menu will be sent a meal as changes occur. Diet orders are monitored regularly.

Room Service Orders:
Room service orders may be placed any time between 6:30am and 6:30pm by calling x13333. A 45-minute meal delivery time after ordering is our goal. During our 30-minute changeover between meals, a slightly longer arrival time should be expected.

Breakfast: 6:30-10:30am
Noon: 11:00am-2:30pm
Evening: 3:00-6:30pm


Patients on room service may order snacks between meals which fit their prescribed diet. For those on diabetic diets, snacks must be ordered at least 1 hour after a meal and should be approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates or less. Individualized snacks may be delivered to patients who may benefit from them. Some snacks are also kept on the floor for between meal & after hours needs.

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