Patient perspectives of factors contributing to inadequate dietary intake in acute care patients in hospital

Kelti Hope, Ekta Agarwal, Maree Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Up to 30% of acute care patients consume less than half of the food provided in hospital. Inadequate dietary intake can have adverse clinical outcomes, including a higher risk of in-hospital mortality.

This study aimed to investigate the reasons for poor intake among acute care patients in hospital. Patients with an observed intake of ≤50% of the food provided at lunch were approached to participate in the study. Thirty-two patients participated in semi-structured interviews over a three week period, to provide their perspective of food and mealtimes in hospital and discuss the reasons and factors influencing inadequate intake. Responses were coded and analysed thematically using the framework method.

Patients reported both individual and organisational factors contribute to their inadequate intake. Half the patients reported the size of the meals were too large, with some patients reporting that large meal sizes puts them off their food and reduced their intake. ‘Not important to eat all the food provided’, and ‘do not need to eat much food in hospital’ were common attitudes among the patients. Half the patients reported that nurses did not observe their intake and were not concerned if all the food was not eaten. Identifying the reasons for poor intake can assist with the development of suitable interventions to improve dietary intake and reduce the risk of adverse clinical outcomes. Further investigation of suitable interventions to reduce portion sizes and improve both staff and patient perceptions of the importance of food in hospital is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150
Pages (from-to)48
Number of pages1
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event32nd Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference - Crown Perth Conference Centre, Perth, Australia
Duration: 13 May 201516 May 2015


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