Mealtime volunteers at Weston General Hospital

ContactDebra Parsons, Matron Lead for inpatient Dementia Services, Weston Area Health NHS Trust
Emaildebra.parsons@nhs.net
Websitehttp://www.waht.nhs.uk
AddressGrange Rd, Uphill, Avon, BS23 4TQ

What is being done?

Mealtime volunteers at Weston General HospitalVolunteer Mealtime Assistants are recruited to help patients at mealtimes, with an opportunity to share experiences. They are trained in how to feed patients from a specialist nutritional team. Specific advice regarding assisting patients with a Dementia is given. The Meal Assistants span a broad age range and are thanked personally by the Matrons for giving up their time for this valuable role. Some Meal Assistants are current members of staff who give up their lunch break.

What is new and different?

A Volunteers Forum is a meeting chaired by the Voluntary Services Manager. The Emergency Divisional Matron and Matron lead for Dementia services are invited along with the Dietician and Speech and Language Therapist. Volunteers are encouraged to attend the Forum as often as they can and do so in large numbers. This gives them an opportunity to share their experiences, discuss any concerns or suggest innovative ideas to improve the patient experience.

What difference does this seem to be making?

Volunteers are assured that their role is taken seriously and their comments are extremely important. They notice things that the others wouldn’t and are confident in reporting them to the forum. There is much interactive discussion and often a particular topic is explored in depth with the Matrons. The Volunteer Meal Assistants feel valued and respected for the fantastic job they do.

The minutes from the Forum are typed and sent out to all volunteers and Matrons. Actions required are noted and followed up.

Ideas or suggestions that the Volunteers bring to the Forum to improve the patient experience are always explored and often implemented.

The Trust Board also hears what’s happening in Volunteering and is very appreciative of all the work the Volunteers do.

Download a presentation about Volunteering at Mealtimes