To investigate whether a novel meal service, FoodforCare, improves dietary intake and patient satisfaction, compared to the traditional 3-meals a day service (TMS).
We performed a prospective cohort study at medical (Gastroenterology) and surgical (Gynecology, Urology, Orthopedics) wards. Patients were offered TMS (July 2015 - May 2016; n = 326) or FfC meal service (after stepwise introduction per ward from January 2016 - December 2016; n = 311).
Primary outcome was the mean percentage of protein and energy intake relative to requirements, between patients receiving TMS and those receiving FfC, on the first and fourth day of full oral intake. Patient satisfaction comprised rating of the experienced quality of the meals and the meal service by means of a validated questionnaire.
Patient characteristics were similar between groups, with the exception that the FfC group contained more oncology patients (p = 0.028). FfC improved mean daily protein intake (in g/day) relative to requirements (1.2 g/kg/day) at day 1 (mean % ± SD: 79 ± 33 vs. 59 ± 28; p < 0.05) and day 4 (73 ± 38 vs. 59 ± 29; p < 0.05). Mean daily energy intake (in kcal/day) relative to requirements improved at day 1 (88 ± 34 vs. 70 ± 30; p < 0.05) and day 4 (84 ± 40 vs. 73 ± 31; p = 0.05). On a scale of 1-10, patient satisfaction remained unchanged, in terms of food quality (7.7 ± 1.5 vs. 7.4 ± 1.4; p = 0.09) and meal service (7.8 ± 1.3 vs. 7.7 ± 1.1; p = 0.29). The FfC group was more satisfied with the appearance and smell of the meals (both p < 0.05).
Implementation of this novel meal service substantially improved protein and energy intake while maintaining, and to some extent, improving patient satisfaction.
Conflict of interest and financial support: potential conflicts of interest have been reported for this article. ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article.