This study aimed to elicit concerns of key stakeholders regarding food service provision to long stay hospital patients. Seventeen focus groups and four individual interviews were conducted involving six stakeholder groups: dietitians, nutrition assistants, patients, nurses, food service assistants and food service managers. Ninety-eight participants (20 male; 78 female) were recruited from public and private hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. Each of the focus groups and individual interviews was conducted in the hospital setting where free and open discussions could be digitally recorded. Transcripts were prepared from the digital recordings and QSR Nvivo 2.0™ qualitative analysis software was used to code the transcripts prior to content and thematic analysis. Themes were identified by relative frequency in the discussion, number of issues raised within each theme and the importance placed on the issues raised. Five major themes emerged from thirty seven discussion topics: the food service system, menu variety, preparation to eat/feeding assistance, packaging and portion size. Participants were particularly concerned about the increased packaging of food products, perceived lack of meal set up and feeding assistance, limited menu variety especially when considering longer stay hospital inpatients, and the increased use of cook-chill operations. These findings lend themselves well to testing in a wider sphere via quantitative means in a proposed national survey. The results of this survey may produce a position on the main barriers to effective food service provision to long stay patients in the Australian context, and enable identification of practical solutions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/l_tapsell/49/