Evaluate patient food service models to best support improving nutrition care project

The aim of the Evaluate patient food service models to best support improving nutrition care project is to investigate hospital patient food service models using a mixed method and person-centred care approach to determine effective and cost-efficient food service systems/models that can feasibly be implemented within Victorian health services.

Evidence suggests that food service interventions can improve the clinical outcomes of cancer patients, specifically oral nutrition supplements; however, published literature is limited. Published data, clinical experience and expert group consensus has identified key components of a high-quality food service model that meets the needs of patients with cancer undergoing treatment in a range of settings. These fit into three food service domains of care: 

  1. Timely access to food 

  2. Nutritional variety and density 
  3. Assistance with meal consumption

When Victorian health services were compared with key components of the three food service domains of care, very few health services met most domains. The consumer experience survey results show that patients value nutritious meals and snacks and choice of meals and variety. The results showed 49 per cent of patients have a poor appetite and 54 per cent had lost weight without trying, contributing to malnutrition and its associated complications and poorer outcomes. Unfortunately, consumers are not always well supported to manage these symptoms in current health service systems. The project outcomes reflect the work required to close the gap between the evidence-based model and current practice. 


Project timeline: 2016-17  


  • St Vincent’s Health 

  • Peter Mac 


Cancer Strategy & Development Department of Health Victoria 


Elizabeth Doyle, Project Lead, St Vincent’s Health