Mealtime volunteers dishing up support for patients

19 February 2019

Mealtime volunteers dishing up support for patients
When patients are recovering in hospital, mealtimes are an extremely important part of the day. It is essential that patients are provided with healthy, nutritious meals that help to boost energy, fight off illness and enhance recovery.

In wards across the Trust, our volunteers are playing an essential role in making sure mealtimes run smoothly.

As a helping hand to hospital staff, mealtime support volunteers assist in distributing food at lunch and dinner times.

They also offer companionship to patients, chatting with them at the bedside and keeping them company while they eat.

The volunteers are also on hand to tidy bed spaces, open food packages, and prepare teas and coffees - extra support that makes all the difference to patients’ mealtime experience.

Oliver Waller, ward manager on the A7 ward at Hammersmith Hospital, said: “The volunteers have been engaged with patients and have made a huge difference to the care we are providing. The feedback from patients has been extremely positive.”

Currently, there are almost 50 mealtime support volunteers helping out on wards at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s hospitals.

Their contribution has ensured that fewer patients miss their meals, leading to better rates of nutrition.

While helping to build relationships with patients, volunteers have also made strong bonds with members of staff.

They can inform nurses when problems arise and carry out patient surveys to gather important feedback.

Nora Kvam, a mealtime support volunteer on the Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AAU) at St Mary’s Hospital, said: “The amazing energy that staff show throughout their long shifts, while dealing with very ill patients, has been amazing to see.

“The main cook on the ward is also super lovely - we always end up having long conversations about our lives while she prepares the meals!”

To find out how you can become a Mealtime Support Volunteer. visit our volunteering opportunities page.