Aim: Hospital meals are challenging for neurological patients. Patients struggle with both physical eating disabilities and social issues during mealtimes. The aim of this study was to examine the meaningfulness of the phenomenon of hospital meals for hospitalized patients with a neurological disease.
Design: Interviews (N = 23) with neurological patients were analysed and interpreted to gain in-depth comprehensive knowledge of the phenomenon of hospital mealtimes.
Method: Data were analysed and interpreted in a three-phased process using a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach inspired by Paul Ricouer.
Results: Four themes were identified: (a) A lonely ride together with others; (b) Letting the chaotic setting fade into the background; (c) Mechanical activity with great personal significance; and (d) Humanizing the setting when eating in the hospital. Mealtimes were supporting existential moments to patients. Offering a calm mealtime setting was experienced by the patients as an asylum where uplifting and comforting feelings were raised.