Room Service: Patient Expectations and Experiences
Background: Patient expectations and the foodservice are largely overlooked in patient experience research. Hospital foodservices face added challenges being subject to a negative stereotype. Hotel-style room service is a current innovation in hospital foodservices seeking to improve patient experiences and reverse long-held images. Objective: To assess and determine the impact of the first hospital room service system in New Zealand on patient foodservice expectations and experiences, in a private hospital setting. Methods: To determine the impact of room service on patient experience, this study replicates the design of a mixed-method study undertaken at the study hospital in 2016 when a traditional hospital ordering and delivery foodservice system was in place. Patients booked for at least a one-night stay during the three-week data collection period were recruited (n=38). The foodservice was assessed using four foodservice quality constructs; food quality; meal service quality; staff and service issues; and hunger and satiety. Patient expectations and experiences were quantitatively collected using an adapted version of the 2016 questionnaire. A sub-sample (n=16) of participants participated in semi-structured interviews prior to admission to determine explanatory factors for their expectations scores. Findings were compared to the results of the 2016 study. Results: Questionnaire results showed patients’ high expectations were generally met or exceeded by their room service experiences. A statistically significant difference was seen between mean expectation and experience scores for the food quality and hunger and satiety constructs. Participants with previous foodservice experience at the study hospital, and those over 65 years of age had higher expectations for these constructs. No differences between age or gender groups were apparent in experience scores. Experience scores for the temperature of meals and drinks were lower than expectation scores, suggesting an area of improvement for the foodservice. Sixty percent of participants experienced a clinical condition that affected their ability to consume and enjoy the hospital meals. Tolerance of institutional systems emerged as the strongest explanatory factor for patient expectations followed by past experiences and postoperative clinical condition. The largest difference in patient expectations and experiences between room service and a traditional hospital foodservice system captured in this study was higher experience scores for the hunger and satiety construct. Conclusion: Patients have realistic expectations of hospital foodservices which is based on their past experiences and understanding of institutional systems. Institutional systems tolerance moderates patients’ expectations however, expectations are still high for room service as a personalized service and for a private institution. Hospital room service generated high patient experience scores, notably for hunger and satiety with increased access to food compared to the traditional hospital foodservice system. A patient’s clinical condition has an influence on their foodservice experience and warrants further investigation as a moderator of quality perceptions. Assessing patient expectations and experiences is a reliable form of feedback for foodservices, successfully identifying areas for improvement.
Advisor: Field, Penelope; Webster, Kirsten
Degree Name: Master of Dietetics
Degree Discipline: Human Nutrition
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Room Service; Patient; Expectation; Expectations; Experience; Experiences; Perception; Quality; Food; Foodservice; Menu; Hospital; Private Hospital; New Zealand; Meal delivery system; Institutional stereotype; Hospital food; Expectation confirmation theory; Satisfaction
Research Type: Thesis