Room service improves nutritional intake and increases patient satisfaction while decreasing food waste and cost

Sally McCray*, Kirsty Maunder, Renee Krikowa, Kristen MacKenzie-Shalders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Room service is a foodservice model that has been increasingly implemented across health care facilities in an effort to improve patient satisfaction and reduce food waste. In 2013, Mater Private Hospital Brisbane, Australia, was the first hospital in Australia to implement room service, with the aim of improving patient nutrition care and reducing costs. Objective: The aim of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the nutritional intake, plate waste, patient satisfaction, and patient meal costs of room service compared to a traditional foodservice model. Design: A retrospective analysis of quality-assurance data audits was undertaken to assess patient nutritional intake between a facility utilizing a traditional foodservice model and a facility utilizing room service and in a pre-post study design to assess plate waste, patient satisfaction, and patient meal costs before and after the room service implementation. Participants: Audit data were collected for eligible adult inpatients in Mater Private Hospital Brisbane and Mater Hospital Brisbane, Australia, between July 2012 and May 2015. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measures were nutritional intake, plate waste, patient satisfaction, and patient meal costs. Statistical analyses performed: Independent samples t-tests and χ2 analyses were conducted between pre and post data for continuous data and categorical data, respectively. Pearson χ2 analysis of count data for sex and reasons for plate waste for data with counts more than five was used to determine asymptotic (two-sided) significance and n-1 χ2 used for the plate waste analysis. Significance was assessed at P<0.05. Results: This study reported an increased nutritional intake, improved patient satisfaction, and reduced plate waste and patient meal costs with room service compared to a traditional foodservice model. Comparison of nutritional intake between a traditional foodservice model (n=85) and room service (n=63) showed statistically significant increases with room service in both energy (1,306 kcal/day vs 1,588 kcal/day; P=0.005) and protein (52 g/day vs 66 g/day, P=0.003) intake, as well as energy and protein intake as a percentage of requirements (63% vs 75%; P=0.024 and 65% vs 85%; P=0.011, respectively). Total mean plate waste decreased from 29% (traditional foodservice model) to 12% (room service) (P<0.001). Patient satisfaction ratings indicated improvement with room service across all Press Ganey meal scores: 68th to 86th percentile overall; 64th to 95th percentile for "quality of food"; and 60th to 99th percentile for "flavor of food." Evaluated during comparable times of the year, patient meal costs decreased by 15% with room service. Conclusions: A patient-centered foodservice model, such as room service, can improve patient nutritional intake and enhance patient satisfaction in a budget constrained health care environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


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