Inspection reports three Irish hospitals reveal patients were highly satisfied with the quality of the meals on offer.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) began a monitoring programme in 2015 to look at nutrition and hydration care of patients in Irish hospitals.
During an inspection at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, all patients interviewed spoke positively about how the food tasted.
Some described the food as; ‘amazing’, ‘best I ever had’, ‘tasty’ and ‘favourable’.
The daily menu viewed by inspectors described the meal in full with descriptions of accompaniments (for example, roast beef with yorkshire puddings or pan-fried chicken in mushroom sauce, creamed potatoes or boiled potatoes and mixed green vegetables).
Hospital management also told inspectors that they were planning to introduce picture menus to help patients who required them when choosing their meals.
At St Columcille’s Hospital in Dublin, patients were equally as complimentary about the food they were served, with some describing the menu has having ‘good choice’ and ‘tasty food’.
All patients expressed satisfaction with the temperature of the food and reported their hot meals were hot on arrival.
As well as regularly refilled jugs of drinking water, milk was served at the hospital as a snack. Catering staff reported it was practice to use specific coloured mugs to encourage patients with dementia to drink more fluid.
Patients at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny were served a meal of boiled bacon , cabbage and vegetables on the day of the inspection.
All patients spoke positively about how the food tasted. Some described the food as; ‘excellent food’, ‘beautiful food’ and ‘tasted well’.
Hiqa has said hospitals in Ireland should strive to improve patients’ experience of hospital food and drink by engaging with patients about food variety and choice.