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Investigation into the suitability and accessibility of catering practices to inpatients from minority ethnic groups in Brent

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Abstract Background

The Borough of Brent has one of the largest ethnic minority populations in England, with a growing number of refugee communities from Africa and Europe. Two important issues to be considered when developing culturally sensitive services in the hospital (including food provision) are that practices meet the religious and cultural requirements of the population that the hospital serves and that staff are equipped with the skills to understand cultural differences in illness and treatment. Aims

To review accessibility and suitability of multicultural meals to minority ethnic communities across five hospital sites in Brent and determine the level of nursing staff knowledge of multicultural dietary competencies. Methods

One survey was completed in each of the five hospital sites to gather information about current catering practices. Two separate questionnaires obtained information of the level of inpatient satisfaction with multicultural meals amongst Hindu, Muslim, Caribbean and Jewish patient groups and knowledge of nursing staff about multicultural competencies. Community groups representing minority ethnic populations participated in focus groups to establish feedback about dietary requirements in hospitals. Results

Access to multicultural meals varied across hospital sites. Of 98 patients in the inpatient satisfaction survey, 74% were aware of the availability of multicultural meals with 51% of these patients not ordering any of the Asian vegetarian, Asian halal, Caribbean or kosher meals, citing satisfaction with European food as the main reason. Those ordering multicultural meals reported satisfaction most of the time (42%), satisfied most of the time (38%) and never satisfied (19%). The African Muslim group was the least satisfied with current halal meal provision. Forty-seven per cent of nurses questioned could accurately answer questions about multicultural dietary competencies. Conclusions

Improvements could be made to improve accessibility and improve suitability of meal choices to inpatients from minority ethnic groups.
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Keywords: catering; cultural competency; focus groups; inpatient satisfaction; minority ethnic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dietetics Department, Central Middlesex Hospital, Middlesex, UK, 2: Dietetics Department, Parkside NHS Trust, Brent, London, UK

Publication date: 2002-06-01

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