A systematic review of hospital foodservice patient satisfaction studies

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Apr;115(4):567-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.11.013. Epub 2015 Jan 27.


The quality of hospital foodservice is one of the most relevant items of health care quality perceived by patients and by their families. Patient satisfaction is considered a way of measuring the quality of services provided. The purpose of this study was to retrieve and review the literature describing patient satisfaction with hospital foodservices. The systematic review was conducted on three electronic archives, PubMed, Excerpta Medica Database, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (1988 through 2012), to search for any articles reporting patient satisfaction with hospital foodservices. A total of 319 studies were identified. After removing duplicates, 149 abstracts were reviewed, particular attention being given to the presence of a description of the tool used. Thirty-one articles were selected and the full texts were reviewed. Half the studies (n=15) were performed in North America. Patient satisfaction scores were generally high, with some variation among hospitals and different modes of food delivery that was investigated through intervention studies. Qualitative studies were also reported (ethnographic-anthropologic methods with interviews and focus groups). Quantitative tools were represented by questionnaires, some of which relied on previous literature and only a few were validated with factorial analysis and/or Cronbach's α for internal consistency. Most analyses were conducted assuming a parametric distribution of results, an issue not primarily tested. More studies on the quality of hospital foodservice have been carried out in North America than in Europe. Also, a variety of tools, most of which have not been validated, have been used by the different investigating facilities.

Keywords: Data collection/methods; Foodservice; Hospital–patient satisfaction questionnaires; Validation studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Food Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sample Size
  • Software Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires