The Potential Role of Personalised Nutrition for Patients in Irish Public Hospitals

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Reid, Caoimhe
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This research project was conducted with the view to achieving three aims. These aims were to gain a better understanding of the public’s perception of how important nutrition is to health, to obtain information on people’s opinions of the Irish public health system, and to show that there is the potential to harness targeted nutrition to benefit hospital patients. A survey was conducted which collect pertinent information and opinions from 423 participants. The Pearson chi-square test of independence and the Kruskal-Wallis H test were used for statistical analysis of the data collected.

The majority of survey participants agreed that their diet impacts their physical and psychological health, with a more significant p-value obtained when comparing age categories against belief that food impacts psychological health (p-value of 0.001). When asked to rate the food received during a hospital stay in the past five years, 38.2% of respondents rated the food as being of fair quality whilst 40.6% of respondents rated the variety of food choice to be poor. The consensus amongst respondents (72.3%) was that there is room for improvement in public hospitals in Ireland, with 91.7% of people agreeing that diet individualisation would benefit hospital patients. This shows that there is the potential to better target nutrition to individual patients.

This study achieved its aims of better understanding the opinions of the public regarding nutrition, particularly regarding the situation in public hospitals in Ireland, and of showing that there is the potential to harness the power of food to benefit the individual patient