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Prioritising mealtime care, patient choice, and nutritional assessment were important for older inpatients’ mealtime experiences

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A Dickinson

Dr A Dickinson, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK;


What is the experience of mealtimes for older inpatients?


Action research study using a qualitative, interpretative, inductive approach to explore the mealtime environment before (phase 1) and after (phase 3) facilitation of changes in staff practice (phase 2).


25-bed ward in the UK.


Purposive sample of older patients (6 in phase 1, 4 in phase 3) who had stabilised after an acute admission and needed complex nursing and medical care, and ward staff (19 in phase 1, 15 in phase 3), including healthcare assistants, nutrition assistants, qualified nursing staff, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.


In phases 1 and 3, 6 mealtimes were observed (including breakfast, lunch, and supper), 3 focus groups were conducted with ward staff, and patients participated in semistructured interviews with staff nurses. Focus groups and interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically. Data from phase 1 informed the focus of phase 2.


3 themes affected patients’ experiences …

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  • Source of funding: Nutricia Clinical Care and Foundation of Nursing Studies in association with Pfizer.