Four volunteers at the Royal Free Hospital have received special training to help feed elderly patients who may need support at meal times.
Many patients in the hospital’s health services for elderly people unit need help with feeding and volunteers have always assisted with serving meals and making sure that patients have everything to hand.
Now, after undergoing special training, four volunteers are able to feed selected patients.
The mealtime assistants, John Cooper, Jean Kent, Patricia Kustow and Bernadette Sullivan, wear special badges denoting that they are trained mealtime assistants.
Training consisted of two group sessions, then each volunteer completed five feeding sessions observed by Mary Flatley, leadership development facilitator. They received their certificates of competency in July this year.
One of the volunteers, 76-year-old Bernadette, a retired auxiliary nurses from Highgate, has been working as a Royal Free volunteer since 2000. She said: "I knew voluntary work was happening at the Royal Free. I just wanted to help and always be involved”.
She added: “All the patients are so grateful and appreciative. They put me at ease as well as me putting them at ease. I like to see them clean their plates. Being a volunteer is very satisfying."
David Lee, deputy director of nursing at the Royal Free, said: “Sometimes it’s the simplest things that matter most. Having somebody who’s got the extra time to help patients during meal times is of great benefit and we really appreciate what they’re doing. We’re very keen to recruit other volunteers who’d like to participate in helping out.”
If you would like to help, please contact Mrs Tonie Craddock (email@example.com) in the voluntary services department at the Royal Free hospital (near Pond Street reception)
Notes to editors
1) For further information: Aysha Shah, communications assistant, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, 020 7317 7590, firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Pictures, group from left to right: Bernadette Sullivan, Jean Kent (glasses), Patricia Kustow, John Cooper. Second pic: Bernadette Sullivan with patient David Bailey.
3) The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust is renowned for its specialist services including liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, renal, AIDS/HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, paediatric gastroenterology, ENT surgery and audiological medicine, amyloidosis and scleroderma. We run a major accident and emergency service, all branches of surgery and medicine, a renal service serving the whole of north London, paediatrics, maternity services, care of elderly people, an adolescent psychiatric service and one of two high security infectious diseases units in the country. We are a leading haematology centre and a major neuroscience base with a network extending throughout north London and into the Home Counties. We have associated internationally recognised research and training programmes. For more information visit www.royalfree.nhs.uk
We are a member of the academic health science partnership UCL Partners. The Royal Free was the only teaching hospital in London to be rated excellent for services and excellent for use of resources in the 2008 Healthcare Commission annual health check.