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Hospital patients fed by volunteers

PUBLISHED: 10:58 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:37 30 June 2010

A pilot scheme to train volunteers to feed patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has proved to be so successful that the scheme is now being expanded.

A pilot scheme to train volunteers to feed patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has proved to be so successful that the scheme is now being expanded.

The search is now on to find volunteers who can lend a hand during mealtimes.

The first volunteer feeders were recruited and trained in 2008 to try to ensure that frail and malnourished patients were adequately fed throughout their stay.

Once trained, the volunteers are able to free up valuable nursing time and ensure that all of our patients are properly cared for at meal times.

"We currently have 13 trained feeders who are doing a fantastic job for our patients. However, this is not enough to meet the demand and we would like more people to come forward to help," says volunteer services manager Sally Knights

"Our volunteers regularly comment on how rewarding their role is and that they feel they are really making a difference to our patients. They all say they get far more out of providing this service than they put in.

"We are now keen to expand the service so we can assist more wards and cover additional meal times, so we are now looking to recruit more volunteers.

"All our volunteers undergo criminal record and other checks before they are allowed to work with patients and it's very important that feeders have adequate training as there are a lot of things to consider. For instance, some patients may have difficulty swallowing so there is a risk of choking, while others may have trouble communicating. With training, the feeders are a great asset because ensuring that patients have nourishing meals can be extremely time-consuming."

If you would like to join our volunteer feeders please contact Charlotte Kippin charlottel.kippin@nnuh.nhs.uk, Sally Knights sal.knights@nnuh.nhs.uk or Linda Hurley Linda.hurley@nnuh.nhs.uk or call us in the voluntary services office on 01603 286060

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