Undernutrition is a serious problem in hospitals. Therefore the Council of Europe in 1999 decided to establish an ad hoc group consisting of national experts to look further into the problem. Since then the group has studied the current practices in Europe regarding hospital foodservice and has issued guidelines to improve the nutritional care and foodservice practices.
The result of the study points at a number of major problems related to the different staff groups, the patients and the management. Among the staff groups involved in foodservice and nutritional care there seems to be a lack of clearly defined responsibilities, and a lack of educational possibilities, as well as a lack of cooperation between those groups. Foodservice and nutritional care does not pay sufficient attention to the rights of the patients and their needs for information, and, finally, hospital management seems unaware of the key role of both foodservice and nutritional care.
Different staff groups must combine efforts in order to make foodservice become successful nutrition. Among these groups, the foodservice staff is a key player, though ward staff, physicians, dietitians, nurses and hospital orderlies also are relevant. It is the responsibility of the hospital management to make these groups work together, however, without the support of skilled experts and professionals in the hospital environment very little will be done. This paper takes a closer look at foodservice and nutritional care from the foodservice operator's point of view, as well as the of the recommendations from the ad hoc group and the implications for foodservice operators