Edible Plate Wastage Study: An assessment of the percentage of consumed food at ward level in selected South African hospitals
Most of the patients admitted to hospitals are malnourished and unable to meet their nutritional requirements during hospitalisation due to low nutrient intake. Consequences thereof being delayed recovery process, prolonged hospital stays, and high cost. With the aim to identify factors related to low levels of food consumption, this study assessed the percentage of edible plate waste and determined reasons for not consuming all the food provided by the hospital without cost calculations. Data were collected using a visual tick sheet with an interview schedule attached on it, from six South African provinces, thirty two hospitals and 168 plates of patients admitted in medical and surgical wards. Ninety six (57%) patients consumed all the food provided for them by hospitals, eight (5%) consumed 80% of the food provided, 10 (6%) consumed 60%, 10 (6%) consumed 40 8 (5%) consumed 20% and 35 (21%) did not consume any food provided for them by the hospital. In elaborating on the reasons for unacceptable food consumption levels, patients indicated dissatisfaction with the aspects related to the quality of meals, the eating environment, physical and/or medical conditions, appetite, and some were absent during meal service. While more than half of the patients 96 (57%) consumed all the food provided for them by the hospital, there were still concerns with 72 (43%) of the patients who did not consume all the food provided by the hospital. This poses serious consequences and negatively impacts on the nutritional and health status of patients.
Keywords: Plate wastage, assessment, food consumption, public hospitals
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