Basildon Hospital staff help patients with meals

Caring volunteers – the helpers at Basildon Hospital

Caring volunteers – the helpers at Basildon Hospital

First published in Echo News by

HOSPITAL staff have become volunteers to help patients who need support eating and drinking.

Basildon Hospital patients, including those recovering from illness or injury and the elderly, will now have a helping hand at mealtimes after 14 offered their time to assist.

Good nutrition and hydration is vital in helping patients to recover from illness or injury, but many patients need additional support at mealtimes.

Volunteers, which include the hospital’s medical director Celia Skinner, help out by sitting with the patients during meals, while encouraging and assisting them to eat and drink.

It is also an ideal time to have a friendly chat, helping to make mealtimes more social and enjoyable.

Ms Skinner said: “I was keen to find a practical way to support staff and improve the experience of our patients.

“I had heard about the mealtime volunteer scheme, and thought it sounded like a good opportunity to do just that.

“Lunchtimes are often busy for me, so I will be regularly helping patients with their evening meal. Alongside ensuring the patient has eaten, the volunteer role is also about spending time talking and listening.

“Every patient has an interesting story to tell.”

Training taught volunteers what can affect patient appetite, understand the importance of different food consistencies, and know what to look out for that might indicate a patient is having difficulty eating or drinking.

Andrea Cartwright, consultant nurse responsible for nutrition support, said: “We must ensure we cater for all our patients’ nutritional needs.

Patients can have a reduced appetite due to their illness and many of our patients have special dietary requirements.

“Some need food in different textures, such as pureed or forkmashed, and some of our patients are fed through a tube.”

The hospital is looking to recruit more kind, caring volunteers who can offer a couple of hours a week. Anyone interested should e-mail joanne.fear @btuh.nhs.uk or call Jo Fear 01268 524900 ext 1770.

Comments (12)

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12:01pm Fri 28 Mar 14

poortaxpayer says...

Isn't this what the nursing staff are supposed to be doing anyway?
Isn't this what the nursing staff are supposed to be doing anyway? poortaxpayer
  • Score: 11

12:09pm Fri 28 Mar 14

angryofessex says...

The NHS is the world’s biggest employer, why are they relying on volunteers.
The NHS is the world’s biggest employer, why are they relying on volunteers. angryofessex
  • Score: 8

12:25pm Fri 28 Mar 14

The Stinker Returns says...

My father was in Basildon Hospital following a heart attack in 2009. The man opposite had to lie flat on his back all the time. A nurse plonked a bowl of cornflakes on his stomach and walked off. I was visiting my father but I asked the gentleman if he'd like some help, which he readily accepted. He said that up til then the nurses had simply come back and removed the untouched food without so much as a word.
My father was in Basildon Hospital following a heart attack in 2009. The man opposite had to lie flat on his back all the time. A nurse plonked a bowl of cornflakes on his stomach and walked off. I was visiting my father but I asked the gentleman if he'd like some help, which he readily accepted. He said that up til then the nurses had simply come back and removed the untouched food without so much as a word. The Stinker Returns
  • Score: 8

12:31pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Kim Gandy says...

The answer to the above two questions is obvious.

The NHS invest far too much in bureaucracy and executives. They are understaffed. Much of the care industry is understaffed. In fact, the whole private and public sector is understaffed if you look.

How often do you have to queue in shops and supermarkets. Did you know, we are the only nation that queues.

Hospital and care staff work long hours, often for poor pay. They barely get a proper lunchbreak themselves and I've known, in care homes, staff having to feed themselves at the same time as they assist the residents to eat.

Often it is the only time they actually sit down.

I am all for willing volunteers, people who are retired, or perhaps do not have to work. I've done some volunteering myself. But something as important as patient care should not be left to volunteers.

When assisting people to eat - particularly elderly - there are often other issues that need attending to, like assisting to the toilet. It's not as simple as just shovelling food into people's mouths.

Elderly people can take a long time to eat a meal, anything up to an hour, so if just one member of staff is occupied with Mr X who has difficulty swallowing for example - and is sitting with him for an hour, that staff member is effectively out of action because you just can't leave that person to their own devices and disappear.

He won't know why you've gone.

Volunteering is fantastic and I have met some brilliant people when involved but this is all part of Cameron's Big Society - which involves people doing vital - and often gruellingly hard - work for no pay at all.

All kinds of care work are extremely low paid, just above minimum wage - and undermined by cheap foreign labour. It is also extremely demanding and tiring.

How soon before the care sector expects more of this kind of work undertaken for free? People are good hearted and most carers,would do it for free if they could afford it, including myself - but most of us need to earn a living.

It's a slippery slope.
The answer to the above two questions is obvious. The NHS invest far too much in bureaucracy and executives. They are understaffed. Much of the care industry is understaffed. In fact, the whole private and public sector is understaffed if you look. How often do you have to queue in shops and supermarkets. Did you know, we are the only nation that queues. Hospital and care staff work long hours, often for poor pay. They barely get a proper lunchbreak themselves and I've known, in care homes, staff having to feed themselves at the same time as they assist the residents to eat. Often it is the only time they actually sit down. I am all for willing volunteers, people who are retired, or perhaps do not have to work. I've done some volunteering myself. But something as important as patient care should not be left to volunteers. When assisting people to eat - particularly elderly - there are often other issues that need attending to, like assisting to the toilet. It's not as simple as just shovelling food into people's mouths. Elderly people can take a long time to eat a meal, anything up to an hour, so if just one member of staff is occupied with Mr X who has difficulty swallowing for example - and is sitting with him for an hour, that staff member is effectively out of action because you just can't leave that person to their own devices and disappear. He won't know why you've gone. Volunteering is fantastic and I have met some brilliant people when involved but this is all part of Cameron's Big Society - which involves people doing vital - and often gruellingly hard - work for no pay at all. All kinds of care work are extremely low paid, just above minimum wage - and undermined by cheap foreign labour. It is also extremely demanding and tiring. How soon before the care sector expects more of this kind of work undertaken for free? People are good hearted and most carers,would do it for free if they could afford it, including myself - but most of us need to earn a living. It's a slippery slope. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -5

12:33pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Kim Gandy says...

The Stinker Returns wrote:
My father was in Basildon Hospital following a heart attack in 2009. The man opposite had to lie flat on his back all the time. A nurse plonked a bowl of cornflakes on his stomach and walked off. I was visiting my father but I asked the gentleman if he'd like some help, which he readily accepted. He said that up til then the nurses had simply come back and removed the untouched food without so much as a word.
...and that is unforgivable.
[quote][p][bold]The Stinker Returns[/bold] wrote: My father was in Basildon Hospital following a heart attack in 2009. The man opposite had to lie flat on his back all the time. A nurse plonked a bowl of cornflakes on his stomach and walked off. I was visiting my father but I asked the gentleman if he'd like some help, which he readily accepted. He said that up til then the nurses had simply come back and removed the untouched food without so much as a word.[/p][/quote]...and that is unforgivable. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 7

12:33pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Kim Gandy says...

The Stinker Returns wrote:
My father was in Basildon Hospital following a heart attack in 2009. The man opposite had to lie flat on his back all the time. A nurse plonked a bowl of cornflakes on his stomach and walked off. I was visiting my father but I asked the gentleman if he'd like some help, which he readily accepted. He said that up til then the nurses had simply come back and removed the untouched food without so much as a word.
...and that is unforgivable.
[quote][p][bold]The Stinker Returns[/bold] wrote: My father was in Basildon Hospital following a heart attack in 2009. The man opposite had to lie flat on his back all the time. A nurse plonked a bowl of cornflakes on his stomach and walked off. I was visiting my father but I asked the gentleman if he'd like some help, which he readily accepted. He said that up til then the nurses had simply come back and removed the untouched food without so much as a word.[/p][/quote]...and that is unforgivable. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -1

2:26pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Vange Resident says...

The hospital gets a lot of "stick" most of it deserved as they do fail the community badly but most (not all) the staff go above and beyond, even I when working here tried to help but the place has gone mad! I was not allowed to help if I heard cries or people asking for it due to….. Health and safety! I was not trained to carry out that task! Yes you read right I was not trained how to feed someone or to touch them! I blame it all on those trying to keep a job and creating more work.

The wonderful women who worked in Health and safety both retired early because of this madness that was starting when I quit. I blame a lot of the problems on the management not allowing people to do their jobs!
The hospital gets a lot of "stick" most of it deserved as they do fail the community badly but most (not all) the staff go above and beyond, even I when working here tried to help but the place has gone mad! I was not allowed to help if I heard cries or people asking for it due to….. Health and safety! I was not trained to carry out that task! Yes you read right I was not trained how to feed someone or to touch them! I blame it all on those trying to keep a job and creating more work. The wonderful women who worked in Health and safety both retired early because of this madness that was starting when I quit. I blame a lot of the problems on the management not allowing people to do their jobs! Vange Resident
  • Score: 2

3:18pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Kim ;Gandy says...

With the trends being what they are, I suppose, without sounding too right, it wont be long before the catering for patients, is given to the private sector, as the diets have a direct impact to the recovery of the patients.
With the trends being what they are, I suppose, without sounding too right, it wont be long before the catering for patients, is given to the private sector, as the diets have a direct impact to the recovery of the patients. Kim ;Gandy
  • Score: 3

4:27pm Fri 28 Mar 14

runwellian says...

Don't complain, I was admitted to a ward and another local 'hospital by the sea' at 4.10 p.m. and never got a drink or anything to eat until 7.20 p.m.
the food (cook chill) is slop, everything is mashed and tasteless.
Whilst we all agree 'some' staff are very busy, having been offered a cup that never arrived, of tea so many times, staff stood aside my bed discussing their fag rota!

Before patients are giving help to eat meals, all hospital needs to provide food that is edible!

There is a lot of criticism re Basildon hospital although I cannot fault their care, but believe me, other local hospitals are no better but still rated excellent by the CQC.
Don't complain, I was admitted to a ward and another local 'hospital by the sea' at 4.10 p.m. and never got a drink or anything to eat until 7.20 p.m. the food (cook chill) is slop, everything is mashed and tasteless. Whilst we all agree 'some' staff are very busy, having been offered a cup that never arrived, of tea so many times, staff stood aside my bed discussing their fag rota! Before patients are giving help to eat meals, all hospital needs to provide food that is edible! There is a lot of criticism re Basildon hospital although I cannot fault their care, but believe me, other local hospitals are no better but still rated excellent by the CQC. runwellian
  • Score: 1

7:16pm Fri 28 Mar 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Whats needed here are pre packed meals, heated in ward microwaves, making the need for kitchens, obsolete, making huge savings...
Whats needed here are pre packed meals, heated in ward microwaves, making the need for kitchens, obsolete, making huge savings... carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 1

10:56pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Kim. Gandy says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
The answer to the above two questions is obvious.

The NHS invest far too much in bureaucracy and executives. They are understaffed. Much of the care industry is understaffed. In fact, the whole private and public sector is understaffed if you look.

How often do you have to queue in shops and supermarkets. Did you know, we are the only nation that queues.

Hospital and care staff work long hours, often for poor pay. They barely get a proper lunchbreak themselves and I've known, in care homes, staff having to feed themselves at the same time as they assist the residents to eat.

Often it is the only time they actually sit down.

I am all for willing volunteers, people who are retired, or perhaps do not have to work. I've done some volunteering myself. But something as important as patient care should not be left to volunteers.

When assisting people to eat - particularly elderly - there are often other issues that need attending to, like assisting to the toilet. It's not as simple as just shovelling food into people's mouths.

Elderly people can take a long time to eat a meal, anything up to an hour, so if just one member of staff is occupied with Mr X who has difficulty swallowing for example - and is sitting with him for an hour, that staff member is effectively out of action because you just can't leave that person to their own devices and disappear.

He won't know why you've gone.

Volunteering is fantastic and I have met some brilliant people when involved but this is all part of Cameron's Big Society - which involves people doing vital - and often gruellingly hard - work for no pay at all.

All kinds of care work are extremely low paid, just above minimum wage - and undermined by cheap foreign labour. It is also extremely demanding and tiring.

How soon before the care sector expects more of this kind of work undertaken for free? People are good hearted and most carers,would do it for free if they could afford it, including myself - but most of us need to earn a living.

It's a slippery slope.
,
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: The answer to the above two questions is obvious. The NHS invest far too much in bureaucracy and executives. They are understaffed. Much of the care industry is understaffed. In fact, the whole private and public sector is understaffed if you look. How often do you have to queue in shops and supermarkets. Did you know, we are the only nation that queues. Hospital and care staff work long hours, often for poor pay. They barely get a proper lunchbreak themselves and I've known, in care homes, staff having to feed themselves at the same time as they assist the residents to eat. Often it is the only time they actually sit down. I am all for willing volunteers, people who are retired, or perhaps do not have to work. I've done some volunteering myself. But something as important as patient care should not be left to volunteers. When assisting people to eat - particularly elderly - there are often other issues that need attending to, like assisting to the toilet. It's not as simple as just shovelling food into people's mouths. Elderly people can take a long time to eat a meal, anything up to an hour, so if just one member of staff is occupied with Mr X who has difficulty swallowing for example - and is sitting with him for an hour, that staff member is effectively out of action because you just can't leave that person to their own devices and disappear. He won't know why you've gone. Volunteering is fantastic and I have met some brilliant people when involved but this is all part of Cameron's Big Society - which involves people doing vital - and often gruellingly hard - work for no pay at all. All kinds of care work are extremely low paid, just above minimum wage - and undermined by cheap foreign labour. It is also extremely demanding and tiring. How soon before the care sector expects more of this kind of work undertaken for free? People are good hearted and most carers,would do it for free if they could afford it, including myself - but most of us need to earn a living. It's a slippery slope.[/p][/quote], Kim. Gandy
  • Score: 0

10:58pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Kim. Gandy says...

Kim. Gandy wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
The answer to the above two questions is obvious.

The NHS invest far too much in bureaucracy and executives. They are understaffed. Much of the care industry is understaffed. In fact, the whole private and public sector is understaffed if you look.

How often do you have to queue in shops and supermarkets. Did you know, we are the only nation that queues.

Hospital and care staff work long hours, often for poor pay. They barely get a proper lunchbreak themselves and I've known, in care homes, staff having to feed themselves at the same time as they assist the residents to eat.

Often it is the only time they actually sit down.

I am all for willing volunteers, people who are retired, or perhaps do not have to work. I've done some volunteering myself. But something as important as patient care should not be left to volunteers.

When assisting people to eat - particularly elderly - there are often other issues that need attending to, like assisting to the toilet. It's not as simple as just shovelling food into people's mouths.

Elderly people can take a long time to eat a meal, anything up to an hour, so if just one member of staff is occupied with Mr X who has difficulty swallowing for example - and is sitting with him for an hour, that staff member is effectively out of action because you just can't leave that person to their own devices and disappear.

He won't know why you've gone.

Volunteering is fantastic and I have met some brilliant people when involved but this is all part of Cameron's Big Society - which involves people doing vital - and often gruellingly hard - work for no pay at all.

All kinds of care work are extremely low paid, just above minimum wage - and undermined by cheap foreign labour. It is also extremely demanding and tiring.

How soon before the care sector expects more of this kind of work undertaken for free? People are good hearted and most carers,would do it for free if they could afford it, including myself - but most of us need to earn a living.

It's a slippery slope.
,
Like I said Gandy often spouting her vile right wing views here on the Echo web site, and allowed to do so, will allow the Echo website to be closed down.
[quote][p][bold]Kim. Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: The answer to the above two questions is obvious. The NHS invest far too much in bureaucracy and executives. They are understaffed. Much of the care industry is understaffed. In fact, the whole private and public sector is understaffed if you look. How often do you have to queue in shops and supermarkets. Did you know, we are the only nation that queues. Hospital and care staff work long hours, often for poor pay. They barely get a proper lunchbreak themselves and I've known, in care homes, staff having to feed themselves at the same time as they assist the residents to eat. Often it is the only time they actually sit down. I am all for willing volunteers, people who are retired, or perhaps do not have to work. I've done some volunteering myself. But something as important as patient care should not be left to volunteers. When assisting people to eat - particularly elderly - there are often other issues that need attending to, like assisting to the toilet. It's not as simple as just shovelling food into people's mouths. Elderly people can take a long time to eat a meal, anything up to an hour, so if just one member of staff is occupied with Mr X who has difficulty swallowing for example - and is sitting with him for an hour, that staff member is effectively out of action because you just can't leave that person to their own devices and disappear. He won't know why you've gone. Volunteering is fantastic and I have met some brilliant people when involved but this is all part of Cameron's Big Society - which involves people doing vital - and often gruellingly hard - work for no pay at all. All kinds of care work are extremely low paid, just above minimum wage - and undermined by cheap foreign labour. It is also extremely demanding and tiring. How soon before the care sector expects more of this kind of work undertaken for free? People are good hearted and most carers,would do it for free if they could afford it, including myself - but most of us need to earn a living. It's a slippery slope.[/p][/quote],[/p][/quote]Like I said Gandy often spouting her vile right wing views here on the Echo web site, and allowed to do so, will allow the Echo website to be closed down. Kim. Gandy
  • Score: 0

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