Room Service Improves Patient Food Intake and Satisfaction With Hospital Food
Cancer therapy causes side effects that interfere with oral intake. Frequently, patients undergoing such therapy suffer from anorexia, nausea, vomiting, food aversions, dysgeusia, and xerostomia, all which adversely affect oral intake. Adequate nutrition intake is an important part of therapy for the cancer patient, especially when that patient is a child. Children who are well nourished are better able to withstand infection and tolerate therapy. Parents and staff at our hospital have worked diligently to improve patients' oral intake with limited success. Hence, a multidisciplinary team was organized to develop a new approach to food services that would improve patients' oral intake. The team initiated patient "room service," and patients were allowed to call the kitchen when they were ready to eat. The system works much like room service in a hotel. After the introduction of room service, patients' caloric intake improved significantly (P = .008), and protein intake increased by 18%. Patient satisfaction with hospital food service also improved; excellent ratings increased by as much as 35%. We conclude that room service is a viable alternative to traditional food services in the pediatric oncology setting and may be useful in other patient populations, such as maternity and general pediatrics.