A comparative analysis of 'plated' and 'bulk trolley' hospital food service systems

Authors: Hartwell, H. and Edwards, J.

Journal: Food Service Technology

Volume: 3

Pages: 133-142

ISSN: 1471-5732

DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-5740.2003.00077.x


It has been recognized that hospital food service could be improved with malnutrition a target concern. The hypothesis of this study is that a food service system that enables patients to see and smell the food on offer and interact with the staff serving the meals will result in better patient nutritional intake and increased meal satisfaction. Data were collected from two wards, Women's Health and Orthopaedic (patients n = 31 in each study), over two 3-day consecutive periods. First, for a pre-ordered, plated meal service; and second, 9 months later, for a trolley service offering choice at the point of consumption. Food was weighed before and after the meal experience. Questionnaires were also administered and interviews were conducted with the patients (n = 614) to evaluate patients' acceptability of both catering systems. Results show that nutritional intake was not dependent on the catering systems and that possibly in hospital, unlike other 'eating out' situations, there are barriers to 'complete nutrition'. However, patient satisfaction was improved with the trolley system, where 93% of patients were satisfied compared to 76% with the plate system. This research indicates that nutritionally, the method of meal delivery is immaterial but patients do prefer choice at the point of consumption


Source: Manual

Preferred by: Heather Hartwell