Foodservice in hospital: development of a theoretical model for patient experience and satisfaction using one hospital in the UK National Health Service as a case study

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Hartwell, Heather ; Edwards, John ; Symonds, Catherine (2006)

Hospital foodservice does not operate in isolation but requires the cooperation and integration of several disciplines to provide the ultimate patient experience. The objective of this research was to explore the antecedents to patient satisfaction and experience, including the service element. Accordingly, focus groups were conducted with doctors (n = 4), nurses (n = 5), ward hostesses (n = 3) and patients together with their visitors (n = 10), while open-ended interviews were conducted with the foodservice manager, facilities manager, chief dietitian, orthopaedic ward dietitian and chief pharmacist. Themes centred on ‘patients’, ‘foodservice’ and ‘mealtimes’, and results show that food qualities, particularly temperature and texture, are important factors impinging on patient satisfaction, and the trolley system of delivery is an acceptable style of service. Service predisposition demonstrates little relevance to patient satisfaction towards overall meal enjoyment. A theoretical model has been developed that identifies hospital foodservice in a cyclic relationship with the community primary healthcare team.
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