Implementation of trained mealtime volunteers to help older hospital patients in a range of ward areas

Theme 2

Ageing and Dementia

The problem:
Hospitals know many older people don’t eat enough - 39% of over 65s admitted to hospital are at risk of malnutrition.
This leads to slower recovery and having to stay in hospital longer.
There is evidence that volunteers can help but no guidance for Hospitals on how many volunteers they would need, where to find them, how to recruit them or how to keep them.

The solution:
• 65 volunteers aged between 17 -77 recruited and trained
• Delivered 846 sessions of mealtime assistance to older patients in 4 separate hospital departments
• 43% of volunteers were 6th form students and 17% retired people
Comparative work against other similar schemes being undertaken to create information on what works and what doesn’t

Expected outcome:
Evidence based blueprint on:
• Numbers required to maintain an adequate volunteer workforce
• Likely turn over
• Best fit for volunteer profile with different ward areas
• Resources (people, time, economic) required by the host organisation to maintain this workforce
• How to retain volunteers

Working with AHSN make sure the blueprint gets to those who need it.
Back to theme > Contact us

Dr Helen Roberts

University of Southampton

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Introducing Volunteer Mealtime Assistants

Dr Helen Roberts with one of the volunteer Mealtime Assistants