To identify food, service, and patient variables associated with high satisfaction with foodservices in a continuing-care hospital that serves, primarily, geriatric patients and patients undergoing physical rehabilitation.
Survey questionnaire concerning eight aspects of food and foodservice as well as type of diet and major patient descriptors.
All patients from geriatric continuing-care units, geriatric rehabilitation units, and physical rehabilitation units at Saint-Vincent Pavilion were considered potential respondents. A convenience sample of 65 clients met the established inclusion criteria and were willing to participate. Patients had to be able to communicate their views, and the clinical nursing staff judged all respondents to be cognitively able to provide opinions concerning food and foodservice. The mean age of subjects was 67 years, the mean length of stay in the hospital was 2 years, and 60% of the subjects were women (n = 39).
Spearman rank correlations, univariate analyses (t tests for continuously distributed data, chi 2 tests for categorical data), and multivariate analyses (regular and logistic regression).
In general, patients questioned were extremely positive about the quality and quantity of food and foodservices at this continuing-care/rehabilitation hospital. Type of diet and patient characteristics were not differentially associated with high levels of overall satisfaction with foodservices (as assessed by a general satisfaction question). Univariate analyses revealed that all aspects of foodservices (except quantity of food) were significantly correlated with overall satisfaction. Multivariate analyses showed that satisfaction with presentation of meal was the best predictor of overall satisfaction and that clients who were very satisfied with the taste of food and were very satisfied that cold food was cold enough were the most satisfied overall. Knowledge of key variables as assessed by multivariate analyses (ie, taste and coldness) predicted whether clients were very satisfied overall 80% of the time.
Surveys are usefull tools for assessing the ways in which clients view the food and services provided by dietitians. Dietitians in continuing-care settings need to focus on a few specific characteristics related to what is eaten and how food is presented, rather than on patient-specific variables, when trying to maximize satisfaction with hospital food. The information in this study can be used as a baseline against which future data can be compared. The survey contributes to a continuing quality assurance process that allows dietitians to track the effect of changes that are made to food and foodservices and to monitor areas that require modification.