Has your hospital considered the tremendous benefits of serving patients wine at the bedside? How about the ways the beverage might improve the lives of stressed-out clinicians?
Those are a few of the questions posed by an advertisement in the April 1970 issue of Health Forum Journal. The ad, by the San Francisco-based Wine Advisory Board, is punctuated by a picture of a smiling caretaker, handing a similarly chipper-looking patient a glass of red wine. The headline reads, "Wine: tender loving care to patients."
"We in California, who grow a delightful dietary beverage for our friends of the health profession, would like you to know the magic that wine is performing for doctors, nurses, dietitians and administrators in some of the finest patient care facilities today in making patients happier and healthier," the board writes.
Hospital administrators are encouraged to contact the company for a free copy of a "noteworthy" new report, produced by two Chicago physicians, titled "Wine is Fine for Patients' Morale and Helps Stimulate Their Appetites."
The ad goes beyond the actual findings in the report and encourages hospitals to "discover that wine in patient care has fringe benefits for you, the tense physician, the harrassed nurse, the troubled administrator, the dietitian under stress of planning meals for laggard convalescents."
The Wine Advisory Board also offers hospital leaders a free copy of the 64-page "Uses of Wine in Medical Practice," a guide compiling 25 years of worldwide research on the health benefits of wine, including a chapter on "wine in hospitals and nursing homes." Surely, this information belongs on "every physician's, administrator's and nurse's bookshelf," they suggest.
Another similar ad, taken out by the same group in the May 1970 Health Forum Journal, encourages hospital leaders to follow the lead of "wine-wise" Napoleon Bonaparte, who used booze to build morale and reduce complaints among his troops. Napoleon's habit of drinking two bottles of claret a meal — champagne instead if he was feeling fatigued and needed to boost his digestion — may be excessive, the ad acknowledges, but doctors should prescribe to themselves and their patients four ounces of wine a day, taken with meals twice daily.
And this wasn't just tongue-in-cheek wine purveyors pushing this miracle elixir onto hospitals. Many articles on wine's benefits to patients from the 1960s and 1970s turned up in a search of our archives. One piece in the March 1972 issue of Hospital Food Service, touted the numerous therapeutic pluses of the beverage, which may have been lost in the "confusion caused by prohibition."
Two hospital administrators in California, for instance, reported that serving wine to inpatients helped to foster a more homelike atmosphere, reduced complaints, aided relaxation and markedly improved morale. Barring any regulatory roadblocks, every hospital should at least consider adding wine to its menu, authors encourage.
"Wine, said Louis Pasteur, is the most healthful and hygienic of all beverages. So, if your hospital's policy and the physician approve, perhaps it has a place in your hospital," Hospital Food Service concludes.