Volunteers serving up mealtime assistance for hospital patients
9th January 2024
Volunteers in Daisy Hill Hospital are helping to ensure patients eat well whilst in hospital.
Mealtime Support volunteers are currently being reintroduced into the Stroke and Rehab ward as part of a pilot scheme under the regional Mealtimes Matter initiative. Good nutrition and hydration is vital to physical and mental wellbeing, particularly when recovering from illness. In hospitals, some patients need support or even just company, to encourage them to eat safely and well.
Mealtimes Matter is a regionally agreed framework to maximise service user safety and ensure a high-quality experience always occurs at every meal, drink and snack time.
Stroke and Rehab Sister Sr. Ursula Haughey said;
“Nutrition and hydration is a really important part of both the physical and mental wellbeing for our patients and our mealtime volunteers play an important role working alongside our nursing staff to make meal times a positive experience.
“This role is so valuable because it not only supports patients’ nutritional intake, which is vital for their recovery, but also improves the patient experience through companionship and ensuring patients have everything they need to be able to make the most of their mealtime experience.”
Katrina Lavery, Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Newry and Mourne area, said that the Trust are delighted to have this vital support role.
“We are incredibly grateful to the volunteers who have come forward for this role, deciding to volunteer for a range of reasons such as gaining experience for future careers in health and social care, giving back to services that their family members have benefitted from or simply keep busy after retirement.
“Our volunteers have completed training in recording food charts, maintaining food hygiene, Mealtime Matters procedures and have had experience of giving and receiving food and drink.”
Volunteers have completed bespoke training to learn about the importance of good nutrition whilst in hospital. The training course was delivered by a range of Trust staff, including dietitians, nursing staff, support services and volunteer co-ordinator. It is hoped that this will be rolled out to other wards throughout the Trust that serve meals in the coming months.
The Trust are always keen to expand their volunteering service and welcome volunteers from all walks of life. Visit southerntrust.hscni.net/involving-you/volunteering for all our current opportunities or contact your local volunteer co-ordinator below:
Craigavon and Banbridge: Aine Mulholland, 028 3756 3950 email@example.com
Newry and Mourne: Katrina Lavery, 028 3756 6295 firstname.lastname@example.org
Armagh and Dungannon: Karen McCabe, 028 3856 4498 email@example.com
You will receive full training and support from a dedicated member of staff, a volunteer uniform and mileage expenses.
Volunteers have completed bespoke training to learn about the importance of good nutrition whilst in hospital. The training course was delivered by a range of Trust staff, including dietitians, nursing staff, support services and volunteer co-ordinator.