Introduction Reduced food intake is common in BMT and immunology inpatients. This is concerning as poor nutrition can hinder patient recovery. Snacks can contribute valuably to a child’s nutritional intake by increasing flexibility and diet variety. This evaluation aimed to review the snack service on BMT and immunology wards at GOSH.
Methods A 9-item survey including likert scales was designed and tested for content validity. Data was collected over a two week period from parents of children on these wards aged ≥1 year who were having full or partial oral diets.
Results Of 9 respondents, 78% (n=7) availed of ward snacks. Snack accessibility and choice received average ratings of 7 and 6 out of 10 respectively. Parent awareness of individual snacks was assessed; at least 8 parents knew that each of bread, breakfast cereals, milk, juice, yoghurts, crackers, biscuits and fruit were available but only 4 or less realised that vegetable sticks, puddings (e.g. jelly, custard, mousse), ice-cream and cheese were stocked. Parents also rated individual snacks out of 10 in terms of suitability; bread, breakfast cereals, milk and juice were rated highly (≥8/10) whereas puddings and vegetable sticks received lower ratings (≤7/10). Parents’ preferences for new snacks included smoothies, chocolate, crisps, cake, pastries and muffins.
Discussion Currently there is no list of ward snacks available and creating this would help increase option awareness. Of current snacks, basic, plain choices (e.g. bread) were highly rated suggesting a reliance on familiar foods. Preferences for new snacks were largely targeted at sweet options. This information will be shared with catering and supply chain services so that future stock decisions can reflect these choices and help improve patient experience. This service evaluation should be repeated over an extended period to increase sample size and assess for possible differences in desires between age groups.
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