It is important that patients receive good hydration and nutritional care to help with recovery and reduce complications associated with the negative effects of malnutrition (undernutrition).
Given the problem of malnutrition in hospitals, the collaborative research project funded by Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals (RBCH) and Bournemouth University (BU) led by BU’s PhD Student Gladys Yinusa aims to explore organisational culture and how improving practices can enhance nutritional care for patients staying in hospital.
Working together: The project took an action research approach which involved bringing members of the multidisciplinary team together with volunteers and governor representatives to share ideas on the problems and generate solutions. A key area to emerge was the role of mealtime companions.
The role of mealtime companions: We want malnourished patients to have a good mealtime experience and to safely eat as much as they can, and mealtime companions have a massive role in that.
Initial findings from the study show that although mealtime companions play a significant role in ensuring adequate nutrition and hydration to patients, wards are not utilizing this volunteer service to its full benefit.
This nutrition and hydration week;
- We call everyone who would like to make a real difference by encouraging patients to eat and drink and contribute to making it a safe and enjoyable experience to please contact the Volunteer Services Department in your local Trust.
- We ask all wards particularly the older persons medicines wards in need of more volunteers to get in touch with their Trust volunteer’s office to explore having a regular volunteer and embed them as part of the ward team.