Investigating nutritional adequacy and patient satisfaction of the free fluid diet at Cabrini Malvern

Mrs  Bek Anderson1

1Cabrini, Malvern, Australia

Aim: To investigate nutritional adequacy and patient satisfaction of the free fluids diet at Cabrini Malvern.

Method: A 15 day cross-sectional study comprised of nutritional analysis of default, ordered and consumed meals, a plate wastage audit, a patient satisfaction survey, and a benchmarking survey.

Results: The free fluids diet did not meet nutritional requirements for energy and protein in comparison to the referenced population. Plate wastage (consumption) data revealed patients only met 13-16% of energy and 10-13% of protein requirements. 75% of patients on the free fluids diet surveyed were either satisfied or very satisfied with the free fluids diet. However, 60% of patients reported areas for improvement with food provision (i.e. offering more flavours or more savoury options), 80% of patients were not offered a mid-meal snack and 40% of patients did not have their menu choices explained to them.

Significance of findings to allied health:

In the gastrointestinal setting, the free fluids diet is prescribed as a post-operative transitional diet, towards a regular diet. The free fluids diet is a restrictive diet (fluids and fluid based foods only), commonly associated with patient dissatisfaction. Furthermore, internationally-endorsed evidence-based Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS®) guidelines, suggest that it is safe to resume normal hospital food after anaesthesia. Results from this project will assist Cabrini Dietetic Services advocate for the implementation of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS®) guidelines within the private setting, which will ultimately reduce the time spent on restrictive diets and improve patient satisfaction at Cabrini.