Flavoursome food during chemotherapy


Proposer: Dijklander Hospitals
Implementation: end of 2018

Project description

Patients undergoing chemotherapy often have to cope with loss of, changes in, or reduction in their sense of taste and often lose their appetite, whereas good food is essential. At the Dijklander Hospitals (Hoorn and Purmerend), diet chef Cees Neefjes gets the patient to take a taste test. In doing so, he is looking at the total taste profile: taste (the five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami), stimulation and olfactory (fragrance). By investigating which of the three aspects are diminished in the patient, he can adjust the taste.

Following the test, patients can get tailor-made advice which fully or partially restores their sense of taste. The sooner their sense of taste is restored, the sooner the patient eats better. Patients can get advice individually, but can also have a workshop at home or an interactive meal in the hospital's restaurant.

More information about this project can be found at:


Patients appreciate that attention is being paid to issues surrounding sense of taste. Unfortunately, not all patients benefit from taste guidance. Patients who did benefit found it most pleasant. They are enjoying their food more, and often eat more, as well as more varied, food.

Impact on the healthcare professional

The project is easy to access, and results can be achieved quickly.

Which pleases the healthcare professional. Setting up takes a lot of time, particularly in the early stages. Especially how to translate the knowledge and skills available into a practical and workable method, and in which form to offer this to the patient. For this, you need healthcare professionals with extra drive and experience in taste guidance.

Impact on the healthcare institution

To ensure the success of this project, the healthcare institution needs to invest in its staff (additional training in gastro-engineering, making space available where the taste test and workshops can be held, and giving staff extra time to carry out the test).

This project is having a very positive impact on how the hospital is used and perceived by patients and their loved ones.


Dijklander Hospitals
Hoorn and Purmerend sites (formerly West Frisia Hospital and Waterland Hospital)

Project contact person:
Annita van der Meulen (oncology nurse)

Other project team members:
Cees Neefjes (diet chef)
Jenny Beemster (district oncology nurse)
Jolanda Gijben (“Complete diet” dietician)