V for Life

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Posted by Oliver on 16/02/22 in VfL News and Events

We want to ensure that the voices of vegans and vegetarians are heard.

If you, a family member, or friend have faced problems as a vegan or vegetarian when receiving care, we want to know. It may be that you were served food that did not meet your needs, or a family member’s beliefs were ignored.

In care, you have the right to have your beliefs and preferences respected.

Despite this, we have heard many cases where basic rights have not been acknowledged.

CASE STUDY: Beth’s mother, Sue, had a stroke and was living in a nursing home. Beth had told the care home that her mother would eat a vegetarian diet with minimal dairy and eggs. Nearly every meal Sue was served had included fish, eggs, and/or cheese. They also had accidentally given her meals with meat, that fortunately Beth was able to intercept. As she became more confused in her early 90s, Sue began demanding the same food that everyone around her had, generally meaning that she wanted meals with meat in them. Eventually, Beth had to authorise the home giving her mother whatever she asked for. Beth said the care home was very nice, but it did not understand what a healthy vegetarian diet was. Aside from the ethical aspects, Beth felt that giving her mother lots of dairy after a stroke would have not been beneficial to her overall health.

If you have experienced or know about a situation like this, please get in touch using the contact details below.

Importantly, if you would be happy to discuss what happened with the media, let us know when you get in touch. This could really help vegans and vegetarians in later life across the country.

Getting more stories heard raises awareness of the issues that vegans and vegetarians face day-to-day in care settings. It helps us to highlight problems and convince people to take these issues seriously.

Please call us on 0161 257 0887 or email inquiry@vegetarianforlife.org.uk.

Thank you.


Heather Hutchings
24 February, 2022

I just have to take my own food (or have it brought in) wherever I go.  I’m vegan and have serious allergies too.  Unless I can identify something as safe to eat, I won’t risk it.  I can’t trust others to be knowledgeable or vigilant enough to protect me.  They simply don’t understand - or they think I’m just a fussy eater.

Moyra Carlyle
24 February, 2022

I think it’s a pity that your organisation focuses only on older people.
We can’t expect to have good vegetarian & vegan provision for older people if it isn’t also happening for younger people in hospitals or in care.

25 February, 2022

I am a nurse and I see this time and time again. Staff just ignoring patients dietary requirements because it’s easier, the food isn’t easily available, to just pure ignorance and claiming that since the patient is eating it, they like it.
Not holistic or individualised care that is suppose to be given.

Paul Fevre
19 April, 2022

My son is currently in hospital after suffering a homophobic attack in Manchester. He had a life saving craniotomy. He has been a vegan since he was 13. We have had to travel nearly 200 mile round trip to take him food as the have no concept at all. He was given jelly that contained gelatine. After he complained they just presented him with an empty tray. He was given a cup of tea. He asked if it was cow’s milk the nurse replied “like you can tell the difference”. Absolutely disgusting.

Anna Fraser
28 April, 2022

My grandma spent the last 3 years of her life in a care home and in hospital. She’d often request a vegan meal at the hospital, and it only seemed to be a couple of meals throughout several months that they had the option for one, there were more vegetarian options though. I was usually there at tea time when they gave a sheet to choose the meals for the next day and I would help her with it because she had dementia. She always said she wanted vegan when I was helping her because she wanted to share it with me, bless her. She found it easier to eat when I was eating with her. In the care home there wasn’t any vegan food apart from on Christmas day where they provided one for me, there was several vegetarian meals but most of it was omvivore sort of school dinner style food. Not very appetising for her and she struggled to eat and was very underweight.

A&E nurse
28 April, 2022

I work in a Manchester A&E. No vegan options at all, minimal veggie options. Veggie option inside A&E is egg mayo/cheese sandwiches or toast with regular butter. We don’t do hot meals in A&E at present.

I realise the focus of this particular project is veggie/vegan food but problems with meeting dietary needs go way beyoind this particular concern.

Hospital food on the wards barely caters for any dietary requirements at all. The only ones that are accommodated are halal, kosher and Afro Carribean. So they don’t even accommodate those who have a medical need to avoid certain foods. For example, if you’re a diabetic who needs low GI or a renal patient who needs low potassium there is no option for you. Those with coeliac disease have a very hard time obtaining gluten free, it has to be ordered in advance and often doesnt arrive until way after everyone else has eaten.

Basically, if you have a dietary need that’s not kosher, halal or Afro Carribean then the two ways to meet that are ubereats or relatives bringing food in.

There are huge swathes of hospital patients not having their dietary needs met and its not acceptable in a modern healthcare service.

GB McClure
15 June, 2022

I was JUST discussing this with my friend today. I can’t believe I found your page! My mother was in a nursing home in the USA. She wanted to be vegan, but they wouldn’t serve her vegan food unless I, her daughter, brought it for her, and paid for it. They even had a vegan chef on staff at one point and she STILL was served animal protein.
My mom has since passed.
What I spoke about with my friend(who is consequently vegan as well) today is that things have GOT to improve or we will not be able to handle it. We both agreed that we would rather die than be forced to eat any form of animal protein again. It is one of my biggest fears.

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