Come Dine With Us runs on wards across our hospitals, inviting friends and families of patients to dine with their loved ones for an afternoon in order for us to receive valuable information about the public’s thoughts on the food we provide.
The event on 17 July 2015 ran on Ward 10F at The Royal London Hospital, which specialises in caring for patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery.
We asked all of our ward patients a range of questions regarding the food such as whether there was a varied menu choice, if the food was hot enough and how it tastes.
Our staff were also invited to try the food and to tell us what they thought about it, as it is important for our staff to know about the food that they recommend to their patients. Many who tried the food were surprised by the variety of halal options and said it tasted nice.
Sala Uddin, 25 years old from Kings Cross, was being cared for on the ward suffering from leg fractures after a football accident. After having the Halal Shepherd’s Pie with vegetables and a custard dessert, Sala said he found the food “fantastic”. Mr Uddin said he is “pleased that the NHS is reflecting the cultures of the local people and is learning about nutrition due to the healthy food that is delivered at well-spaced times throughout the day”.
Irene Barton, from the Wylye Valley in Wiltshire, has been at the hospital for one week since undergoing an operation on her false left hip. Irene explained: “Today for lunch I had roast chicken, potatoes, vegetables and gravy which was very good, in fact I have enjoyed all of the food here. I have a lovely, large en-suite room and have been well looked after by the teams and my fantastic Consultant. I couldn’t do better; I feel very, very lucky.”
Aklima Rahman, 27 years old, is a staff nurse and lives in Poplar. She has worked at The Royal London Hospital for three and a half years. Aklima explained the importance of a good menu for patients: “Giving patients a choice of menu, which reflects their culture, helps to create a feeling of comfort in a hospital environment and means they are more likely to enjoy their meals. And good nutrition is especially vital to the recovery of our patients so that their bones heal well.
“The feedback we gain is also valuable because when patients are unwell they have reduced taste buds meaning they are less likely to want to eat. Having feedback from staff and families through Come Dine With Us will help us to improve the quality of food provided to patients and make it more appealing even when they are feeling ill.”
Asking patients for feedback about food quality is important to us as it will help improve the food we provide and will allow us to offer more varied menus so more patients can benefit from a nutritious meal.
Patient Lead at Barts Health NHS Trust, Reza Miah told us why good nutrition is so vital for patients: “Eating balanced nutrition massively boosts the immune system which in a hospital environment, where the patient is already vulnerable, is a massive help for them in their recovery. So we try and utilise the opportunity of patients being in our care to educate them on the importance of a good diet for their health and what a good diet involves. This way we hope to keep them well and reduce the chance of them returning to hospital.”