The feedback tree: A novel way of engaging staff and consumers to provide feedback on hospital foodservices

Margot Leeson-smith1, Christine Eadeh1, Claire  Dux1, Adrienne  Young1

1Royal Brisbane And Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia

Australian healthcare standards require that consumers are engaged in evaluating and improving service delivery. In dietetics and foodservices, this is traditionally done using validated satisfaction questionnaires. Informal qualitative feedback often provides rich data that may not be captured in standard questionnaires. This project aimed to trial a novel way of collecting consumer and staff feedback in a large metropolitan hospital. Inpatients and staff from 5 acute wards were invited to provide written feedback or suggestions on pictures of apples. These were placed on The Feedback Tree, which was on each ward for at least one month (January-May 2018). The question “How can we improve our foodservice?” was used to prompt feedback.  Responses were collated separately for patients and staff, and categorised into domains (quality, variety, availability, service). Sixty-one “apples” were placed on the tree (38 patients, 23 staff). Patients mostly provided feedback on food quality (n=16, 67% positive), followed by variety (n=13, all suggestions to improve variety) and service (n=13, 50% positive, negative comments mostly related to menu ordering issues). Staff feedback was primarily related to lack of availability of late/missed meal options (n=7) and variety (n=5), and highlighted the problem of poor communication back to staff about foodservices improvements. The Feedback Tree was a visible and engaging way of obtaining feedback. While it did not unearth new information, it confirmed the importance of current and planned improvement initiatives (vending machine for outside hours meals, expanded snack options) and highlighted the need to improve how we close the feedback loop and communicate changes to consumers and staff (new “you said, we did” foodservices communication strategy for staff).


Margot Leeson-Smith is a Dietitian at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital / Central West Hospital and Health Service

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