Hospital volunteers trained to help patients’ nutrition
Worcestershire’s acute hospitals have started a training programme for volunteers to teach them how to safely feed patients who require assistance with eating.
Good nutrition and hydration are vital to helping improve patients’ health in hospital, and so ensuring patients receive a healthy balanced diet is a top priority.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – who run the Worcestershire Royal, Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Kidderminster Hospitals – has started training volunteers in assisted feeding, enabling them to spend time with patients and provide dedicated 1 to 1 support. This support ensures that patients eat well which in turn means a better recovery and speeds up their return home. It also frees up nursing staff for more complex tasks.
The first training session took place last week, and was supported by Worcester Community Action, a local group who help find volunteers to help good causes.
Project coordinator for Worcester Community Action, Sally Ellison MBE, attended the first training session and said: “My background is in nursing so I know the importance of having someone to sit with patients and helping them to feed. By training volunteers up to do this task, it gives them a fantastic opportunity to give dedicated time to patients and free up nurses for other roles”.
Tessa Mitchell, Associate Director of Patient Experience at Worcestershire’s acute hospitals, said: “This is a really important initiative that has been put in place as a direct response to feedback we’ve received from patients. A practical guide has been developed by our Lead Nurse for Nutrition and Hydration, Kate Title and Helen Gough, Speech and Language Therapist, so those with extra needs at mealtimes can have a dedicated team member with them to assist where necessary.
“This will improve mealtimes and the experience of our patients who need assistance with feeding, as well as enabling our volunteers to help patients more directly”.