an outlook into future patient food supply

What will the patient food supply be like in the hospital of the future? – Nutrigeno offers a possible scenario. The project sets the archaic theme of food into the context of modern high-tech medicine and discusses new possibilities of supply on the basis of current trends. Moreover Nutrigeno should stimulate a discussion about the topic. The project originated out of the thought to improve a patient’s convalescence without further medication. In doing so the poles of atmosphere, food, and self-motivation were analysed. At the beginning a internship in the field of care, a visit to the Klinikum Braunschweig and literature research about the origin, opportunities and deficiencies of the hospital served as means to gain a deeper understanding of itself.

Questions like: „How did today’s generalised standard logic of hospitals come into existence and how does it affect patients and employees?“ were discussed. A catalog containing challenges and corresponding approaches to solutions in the form of physical products, service design and user experience concepts was created as additional step.

Braunschweig University of Art

Lukas Adrian Jurk

Prof. Kerstin Kaczmar, Prof. Dr. Manuel Kretzer

Klinikum Braunschweig

View Project

Eventually the topic of food supply was chosen and further elaborated. As it turned out, catering is an essential but rather not considered part of convalescence. Complex structures of supply have grown over time however neglecting other organisational units of the hospital. After visiting the canteen kitchen of the Klinikum Braunschweig the advancement of technical food production as well as our perception of it was examined to reveal the falsehood of the term naturalness. Shall a banana be called natural?

By what means does food rise in value apart of its functional aspects? On the one hand the cultural background is crucial to our perception of food, on the other hand the pleasure based on sensory stimulus is essential for a good meal. A specific individual nutrition is particularly important to convalescence not to mention the extend of pleasure, which if given extensively results in an elevated mood of the patient. Studies proofed an individually customised nutrition can significantly reduce or substitute medicine completely.

However, the modern supply system contradicts these aspects serving qualitative bad food unaesthetic and normalised shaped to the knowing patient. The result is the frequent rejection of meals and minor appetite. 

Nutrigeno extrapolates trends like the rising employment of wearables to quantify and monitor patients (modern panopticon), the rising health consciousness of people, the rationalisation of process operations as well as the desire for more patient kindness. The scenario does not depict my ideal conception, but reflects the impressions and apprehensions due to the research. 

The conceived system begins with the rearrangement of the order process. The patient can choose his meal based on a menu containing scent probes. Then the food is freshly prepared by a stationary machine based on a doctors diagnosis and vital parameters constantly collected by a wearable and served according to the patient’s schedule. Various institutes and companies already developed algorithms linked to measuring devices to calculate optimal individual nutrient supply. The system questions and rearranges the current rationalised supply which is actually uneconomic if seen in a broader context. About 60% of the food is disposed and patients do heal less fast as 72% are malnourished resulting in prolonged lay time. In addition the design proposes new dishes and tablets as well as a new kind of food producible by a machine while offering new sensory input.