Health trust seeks mealtime companions for Hartlepool patients

Ian Fraser who is urging more people to volunteer as a mealtime companion.
Ian Fraser who is urging more people to volunteer as a mealtime companion.
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A health trust wants more volunteers to make a difference to patients by becoming mealtime companions.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is looking for people who can help patients to eat. They will also serve food, and make mealtimes an enjoyable and social experience.

Ian Fraser, an IT analyst at the trust, explained why he volunteered. “My dad suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

“He needed help with lots of things he couldn’t do himself.

“Staff in the ward were doing a fantastic job caring for patients but were often too busy to be able to dedicate the time to individual patients during mealtimes.

“It became part of my routine to visit the ward during meal service, helping my dad cut up his food and encouraging him to eat and drink.”

Mealtime companions are supported at all times by a member of staff and receive specific training to help with communication skills and nutritional knowledge.

Ian said: “I know how helpful this is to ward staff – volunteers can make a real difference.”

All mealtime companions get support and training and need no previous experience.

For more information contact quality assurance nurse Sue Leather on (01642) 624115 or quality assurance co-ordinator Louise Parkin on (01642) 383938.

And for extra details about volunteering visit www.nth.nhs.uk/jobs/volunteer