Hospital food service: A comparative analysis of systems and introducing the 'Steamplicity' concept

Centre for Foodservice Research, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset, UK.
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (Impact Factor: 1.99). 01/2007; 19(6):421-30. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2006.00730.x
Source: PubMed


Patient meals are an integral part of treatment hence the provision and consumption of a balanced diet, essential to aid recovery. A number of food service systems are used to provide meals and the Steamplicity concept has recently been introduced. This seeks, through the application of a static, extended choice menu, revised patient ordering procedures, new cooking processes and individual patient food heated/cooked at ward level, to address some of the current hospital food service concerns. The aim of this small-scale study, therefore, was to compare a cook-chill food service operation against Steamplicity. Specifically, the goals were to measure food intake and wastage at ward level; 'stakeholders' (i.e. patients, staff, etc.) satisfaction with both systems; and patients' acceptability of the food provided.
The study used both quantitative (self-completed patient questionnaires, n = 52) and qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews, n = 16) with appropriate stakeholders including medical and food service staff, patients and their visitors.
Patients preferred the Steamplicity system overall and in particular in terms of food choice, ordering, delivery and food quality. Wastage was considerably less with the Steamplicity system, although care must be taken to ensure that poor operating procedures do not negate this advantage. When the total weight of food consumed in the ward at each meal is divided by the number of main courses served, at lunch, the mean intake with the cook-chill system was 202 g whilst that for the Steamplicity system was 282 g and for the evening meal, 226 g compared with 310 g.
The results of this small study suggest that Steamplicity is more acceptable to patients and encourages the consumption of larger portions. Further evaluation of the Steamplicity system is warranted.

Download full-text


Available from: Heather Hartwell, Apr 27, 2015
249 Reads
  • Source
    • "Although this new production system improved food safety and contained costs, it was also detrimental to sensory characteristics (i.e. appearance, flavor and texture), which commonly cause patient dissatisfaction and complaints (Edwards and Hartwell, 2006). Similarly, the deteriorating trend in patients' roomcomfort perception likely reflects inconvenience caused by major renovation and large scale refurbishment after tall-building security regulations were enforced. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate trends in patient hospital quality perceptions between 1999 and 2010. Design/methodology/approach – Original data from 11 cross-sectional surveys carried out in a French single university hospital were analyzed. Based on responses to a 29-item survey instrument, overall and subscale perception scores (range 0-10) were computed covering six key hospital care quality dimensions. Findings – Of 16,516 surveyed patients, 10,704 (64.8 percent) participated in the study. The median overall patient perception score decreased from 7.86 (25th-75th percentiles, 6.67-8.85) in 1999 to 7.82 (25th-75th percentiles, 6.67-8.74) in 2010 (p for trend <0.001). A decreasing trend was observed for the living arrangement subscale score (from 7.78 in 1999 to 7.50 in 2010, p for trend <0.001). Food service and room comfort perceptions deteriorated over the study period while patients increasingly reported better explanations before being examined. Practical implications – Patient perception scores may disguise divergent judgments on different care aspect while individual items highlight specific areas with room for improvement. Originality/value – Despite growing pressure on healthcare expenditure, this single-center study showed only modest reduction in patients’ hospital-care perceptions in the 2000s.
    International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance 06/2014; 27(5):414-26. DOI:10.1108/IJHCQA-02-2013-0014
  • Source
    • "In North America, cook to order or room service has become the predominant trend in hospital foodservice (McLymont et al. 2003). Other foodservice models, such as 'Steamplicity' whereby meals are plated in a central production unit prior to distribution to hospitals, then microwaved at short notice prior to meal times, have been implemented with success in the UK (Edwards & Hartwell 2006). The principal foodservice models in Australia are cook-chill and cook-freeze systems where food is preprepared and then rethermalised at required times (Greathouse et al. 1989; McLelland & Williams 2003; Nettles & Gregoire 2006) and the traditional cook-fresh model. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Decline in nutritional status during hospitalisation highlights the importance of achieving high-quality foodservice. This research aimed to explore patient satisfaction with hospital foodservices from on-site and off-site cook-chill production systems. Two cross-sectional surveys of hospital inpatients were conducted in an acute medical and a subacute rehabilitation ward before and after a change to off-site cook-chill production. The survey used a validated instrument (Acute Care Hospital Foodservice Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire). Sixty-six patients in 2006 and 51 patients in 2007 recorded unchanged results across factors of food quality, staffing service quality, meal service quality and physical environment quality. Satisfaction with foodservice was rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by the majority of patients in both surveys. The research instrument was able to deconstruct various issues relating to patients' satisfaction and six individual items correlated with overall satisfaction with foodservice. To maximise patient satisfaction, further research into these, and additional dimensions of foodservice quality is needed to determine how improvements may be achieved.
    03/2009; 20(2):81 - 89. DOI:10.1111/j.1748-0159.2009.00128.x
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Thermal processing is one of the most common methods for achieving safe convenience fish products with an extended shelf life. Designing a thermal process for such products, typically in the range of 60–95°C for 10 to 30min, is challenging since the heat load required for inactivating target microorganisms may cause undesirable quality changes in the lipid and protein fraction. Concern about the safety of some fish products exists, particularly when considering the potential abuse caused by storage temperature. New methods that focus on minimal heating or rapid heating of fish products are therefore of vital importance. The main aim for new developments is to reduce the overall thermal load by reducing the temperature gradients in the product or by targeting specific potentially infected areas. In both cases, alternative technologies to conventional autoclaves, combi-steamers or water baths are used for enhanced heat transfer, thereby providing more rapid heating and avoiding unnecessarily high heat loads on part of the product. Dielectric heating, Shaka technology and surface pasteurisation are technologies that meet these approaches, and are now available for industrial applications. Minimal processing often relies on the use of multiple sub-lethal stresses or processes to achieve a similar level of microbial control such as that traditionally achieved by using a single lethal stress. Most minimally processed products require refrigerated storage and distribution to maintain food safety. KeywordsFish–Heat treatment–Minimal process–Microbiological safety
    Food and Bioprocess Technology 01/2010; 4(6):833-848. DOI:10.1007/s11947-011-0517-7 · 2.69 Impact Factor
Show more