“Dining with Friends” An enjoyable mealtime experience for patients in hospital: Aimed at promoting socialisation and increasing meal enjoyment

Ms Natalie  Lim1, Ms Chantelle Hutchinson1

1Werribee Mercy Hospital, Werribee, Australia


– To decrease isolation and promote socialisation.

– To promote opportunities to address therapy goals related to feeding.

– To promote multi-sensory stimulation (i.e sights, sounds, tastes).

– To promote oral intake and meal enjoyment by facilitating shared meals and mimicking a normal mealtime experience.

– To support meaningful activity associated with eating/drinking.


25 patients on the GEM/Rehab ward attended the Dining With Friends (DWF) group which was held once each week for a trial period over 5 weeks. From this group 14 patients completed a pre and post DWF survey. Patients with significant cognitive impairments were excluded from completing the surveys however were not excluded from attending the group.

The surveys were used to obtain quantitative data and measure areas such as: times where patients are more sociable, the impact of eating with others on appetite, overall enjoyment of their meals during their hospital stay, etc. Qualitative data was also gathered through informal conversation and a comments section on the survey.


– Before DWF only two patients identified lunch time as a time where they are more sociable however after DWF seven patients did.

– 93% of patients stated they would attend DWF again

– Average rating for the enjoyment of DWF was 3.75 out of 4

– Before DWF 10% of patients indicated they would prefer to eat with other people however after dining with friends this increased to 50%

Significance of the findings to allied health:

Results indicate many patients would prefer to eat with others therefore this should be considered on inpatient wards.