Nutritional intake and foodservice satisfaction of adults receiving specialist inpatient mental health services

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Aim: Meeting the nutritional needs and foodservice expectations of hospital inpatients is challenging. This study aimed to determine whether adults receiving specialist inpatient mental health services meet their energy and protein requirements and are satisfied with the foodservice. Methods: An observational study of adults admitted to three specialist inpatient mental health services within a large health service. Energy and protein intake were determined over 24 h via observation, and nutritional requirements were estimated using standard procedures. Validated questionnaires were used to assess satisfaction with the lunch meal, elements of the foodservice system, and overall foodservice satisfaction. Results: Among 74 participants, the median (IQR) energy intake (6954 [5111–10 250]kJ/day) was less than estimated requirements (8607 [7319–9951]kJ/day), whilst protein intake (85 [62–120]g/day) exceeded requirements (59 [46–70]g/day). Food from external sources was consumed by 50% of participants. Satisfaction surveys found vegetables were rated more poorly than the meat or carbohydrate portion of the meal, food quality was rated lowest compared with meal service, staffing and physical environment. The majority of participants (89%) rated their last meal as average, with the remainder (11%) rating it as poor. Conclusion: There are opportunities to improve the meal and foodservice experience for this patient group to meet their nutritional requirements and expectations. Investment in quality food and menus that are appropriate for the demographics, exploration of the most appropriate foodservice system, and adequate dietetic resourcing are needed to improve nutrition care within specialist inpatient mental health services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • foodservice
  • hospital
  • mental health
  • nutrition
  • satisfaction

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