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


This project aimed 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 the majority of domains. The consumer experience survey results show that patients value nutritious meals and snacks as well as choice of meals and variety. The results showed 49% of patients havd a poor appetite and 54% 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

For more information, please contact [email protected]