Mealtime Training – Shared Learning & Resources

Having perfected our training and supervision programme for the Hospital Mealtime Volunteer on Ward 9 at North Tyneside General Hospital, we though it best to share our learning and resources, hence our new page ‘Resources’. If you find these resources useful or have questions please let us know. We will share the Hospital Wellbeing Volunteer information soon – don’t want to give too much away too soon!

Longstanding Hospital Mealtime Volunteers and NHS staff have kindly assisted us develop the training process to its high and comprehensive standard. An existing hospital mealtime volunteer commented:

‘I started 3 years ago, I did not get the help that is given now. Lots more help now..’

The project staff have sought on going feedback from volunteers on the training and support they have received to ensure everyone’s needs are met. A snap shot of the feedback surveys revealed:

On a scale of 0 – 10,   100% of volunteers scored 10 ( top mark) for usefulness of the Mealtime Handbook

On a scale of 0 – 10,   86% of volunteers scored 10 (  top mark) for usefulness of the Dietician’s presentation

On a scale of 0 – 10,   100% of volunteers scored 10 ( top mark) for usefulness of the Speech and Language Therapy presentation.

On a scale of 0 – 10,   100% of volunteers scored 10 ( top mark) for how supported they felt on the first day on the ward.

The project’s Hospital Mealtime Volunteer Training Programme consists of:

1/ Hospital Induction

This is mandatory element for all volunteers working in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust premises. The half day NHS induction organised by the HVS (Hospital Volunteer Service)  team includes:

    • Infection Control
    • Fire Lecture
    • NHS policies and procedures e.g. confidentiality, safeguarding, health & safety

2/ Mealtime Role Training

Two presentations are made in this half day training session, by specialist NHS staff.

Mealtime Assistance Volunteers – please see the ‘Resources’ page to access the PowerPoint Presentation created and presented by Allison Baxter – Nutrition Nurse Specialist at North Tyneside General Hospital.

Hospital Mealtime Volunteers Workshop – please see the ‘Resources’ page to access the PowerPoint Presentation created and presented by Julie Quinn – Adult Speech and Language Therapist Clinical Lead at North Tyneside.

3/ Age UK North Tyneside Induction

We incorporated a basic Age UK North Tyneside Induction into the above half day training session, please see the ‘Resources’ page to access the PowerPoint Presentation created by Julie Dixon-Patterson.

We have always emphasised the Safeguarding process (detailed in the Hospital Mealtime Volunteer Handbook), however a new element of the presentation includes the Age UK North Tyneside Risk Assessment of the ward, which was carried out in conjunction with project volunteers – to comply with our corporate responsibilities . Please see the ‘Resources’ page for the word document.

4/ Handbooks

a) The Hospital Mealtime Volunteer Handbook was given to volunteers at the mealtime role training session prior to starting on the ward , see the Resources page to access this word document. A big thank you to volunteers Ann and Jean who shared their views about hospital volunteering in general which helped us construct a supportive handbook alongside the essential input for the NHS nutritional experts (Anne Geddes – Nutrition & Dietetics Manager and Allison Baxter – Nutrition Nurse Specialist).

Please note, the handbook required official clearance from the NHS Comms team before it could be issued to volunteers. A big thank you goes to Sandra Guy from the NHS, for her support with the process.

b) The Age UK North Tyneside Volunteer Handbook (which is provided to all our volunteers irrespective of role)  is professionally published booklet  which gives more detailed information on the volunteering policies and procedures Age UK North Tyneside have in place.

5/ Observation and ward training

Project Staff  introduce each volunteer onto the ward and stay on the ward till the volunteer completes their first mealtime session to gauge how the volunteer coped and if they require further support and training.

Volunteers are first introduced to senior ward staff  i.e. Ward Manager and Ward Sisters, volunteers must report to a senior member of staff each time they arrival on the ward. Senior ward staff are responsible for allocating a ward staff member (Mealtime Co-ordinator) to supervise all volunteers during mealtimes. If volunteers have patient concerns they report these to senior staff (in line with the Safeguarding process detailed in their handbook).

The volunteers prior to going it alone on the first day are teamed up with experienced mealtime volunteers, to first observe and then feed patients with the support of another volunteer.

6/ Training and Support Feedback form

Volunteer are asked to complete this soon after they start their role. Please see the Resources page to access the feedback word document template.

7/ Ongoing Support & Training

Obviously on going volunteer support is essential to retain volunteers and resolves issues at an early stage, both from the volunteers perspective and ward staff. Regular visits to the ward are made by project staff and volunteers get regular phone calls and e-mails.

We have learnt that it is best to team up two volunteers per mealtime shift, this works well from both a peer support aspect and does not over crowd the ward (as patient numbers and support needs are variable)

On the 15th August 2013 we held a volunteer training session, where the Ward Sister Gemma Williams introduced and discussed the new mealtime routine. This was a great shared learning event and really brought it home to the volunteers on how valued their contribution to the ward was (both views/experience  as well as their mealtime assistance). The new protocol ‘Ward Staff Supervision of Volunteers & Volunteer Responsibilities’ written by the ward sister in collaboration with Age UK North Tyneside, has now been issued to volunteers and wards staff. Please see the Resources page to access the protocol.

Within the last few weeks we have secured Person-Centered Training for all project volunteers (previously only available to our observation volunteers) and the first Mealtime Volunteers to benefit from this on the 29th October will be Ann, Jean, Mary and Mel. Our new Volunteer Officer Carole will accompanying the volunteers, as the training with ward staff is a valuable joint learning opportunity for all. Please see our earlier post February Milestones (6th March 2013)  to find out more about the training.

Finally a great result from a volunteer’s six month review stated:

‘ Initially depressed after an operation and since starting to volunteer …. this has influenced my mood and resulted in the depression going. The volunteering has given me a focus and opened up new job opportunities.

Please see the Resources page to access the volunteer review word document template.

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