Patient experiences of hospital food provision: Maintaining the older body in hospital

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Food is vital to the maintenance of the physical body, but also has
social and psychological roles important for health and well-being. Malnutrition
and poor nutritional care of older patients in Westernised hospital settings have long been a concern. However, less well understood is how patients’ experience eating in this setting. This paper draws on interviews conducted with patients (n=81) during an action research study to explore their mealtime experiences. Patients undertake work in order to make the best of the hospital situation and ‘survive’ often through engaging in ‘self-sufficiency’ behaviour. Adaptations are made to adjust to the alien environment and foods, fit in with institutional constraints, and avoid asking for assistance. Patients also experience weight
loss, varying impacts of disease and altered appetite. Despite these difficulties,
mealtimes are important to patients, maintaining a sense of normality and providing temporal signals as well as providing nutrients essential for recovery
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576
Number of pages1
Issue numberSupp 2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2011
Event64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America - Boston, United States
Duration: 18 Nov 201122 Nov 2011


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