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Inpatients’ perspective of foodservice quality in selected public hospitals of South Africa’s Gauteng province: a gender comparison

ME Letsoalo
LJ Ncube


The purpose of this cross-sectional comparative quantitative study was to determine male and female inpatients’ perspectives of hospital foodservice quality, as measured by five dimensions of foodservice quality; namely, tangibles, reliability of the foodservice system, responsiveness of the foodservice system, empathy, and attitude of the foodservice personnel. The study, in selected public hospitals in Gauteng province, is based on secondary data from the superordinate study that used a proportional sampling technique for data collection. The dataset used here contained 147 (66 [44.90%] female, 68 [46.26%] male and 13 [8.84%] undisclosed) anonymous inpatients. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test analysis revealed that male inpatients had significantly different perceptions of tangibles, empathy, attitude, and responsiveness than their female counterparts. Contrary to their female counterparts, male inpatients were of opinion that service staff informed them of menu served (p = 0.0034), staff provided consistent service
(p = 0.0115), tray looked attractive (p = 0.0401), and that service staff informed them of the nutritional value of food items (p = 0.0078).  In contrast to their male counterparts, females thought crockery (p = 0.0258) and cutlery
(p = 0.0410) looked clean, service staff explained food items on the menu (p = 0.0001), staff responded when patients asked for help
(p < 0.0001), service staff greeted them when they served them with meals (p = 0.0063) and service staff treated them with respect
(p < 0.0001). Inpatient gender is, therefore, an important factor associated with inpatient experiences and expectations. This study recommended that managers should consider developing a new policy that is targeted, unlike the current one that follows the “one size fits all” notion. Future studies may consider a representative sample of Gauteng province’s hospitals and a mixed-methods study, that will give voice to inpatient experiences, is recommended.

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eISSN: 0378-5254