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Commentary on: Porter J, Haines TP, Truby H. The efficacy of protected mealtimes in hospitalised patients: a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Med 2017;15:25.
Implications for practice and research
There remains no evidence to support that protected mealtimes improve outcomes for hospital patients, likely due to ineffective implementation.
In practice, a focus on ‘assisted mealtimes’ may be beneficial.
Future research is warranted and should include a carefully designed implementation and evaluation approach appropriate for complex interventions.
Researchers should involve patients/carers when designing trials to ensure inclusion of patient-centred outcomes.
It is well established that people eat poorly while in hospital. This is often blamed on the hospital food; however, inadequate dietary intake and consequent malnutrition (affecting 25%–30% of inpatients) is much more complex than it seems. Factors limiting intake includes those related to acute illness, hospital processes and mealtime environment. Protected mealtimes (PM; where non-urgent interruptions and …
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