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MealMate plea to help patients at King's Lynn hospital with recovery

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The search is on for volunteers to help enrich meal times for patients at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Eating is not just about nutrition, there is also a social aspect – so staff want to find MealMates to work with patients.

They need 20 volunteers to chat and encourage patients to eat and provide some basic assistance if needed.

Practice Development Nurse Adrian Debney is supporting a patient. (7971389)
Practice Development Nurse Adrian Debney is supporting a patient. (7971389)

One of the people behind the MealMates initiative is practice development nurse, Adrian Debney.

He said: “Nutrition plays such an important role in helping patients to recover from serious illnesses or operations.

“If patients have a positive experience during meal times then they are more likely to eat and that reduces the time they spend in hospital.

“We are looking for 20 volunteers to provide basic assistance and, most importantly, social interaction.

“Some of our older patients can feel quite isolated. By having someone there to offer encouragement or simply have a chat makes all the difference.”

Volunteer MealMates will get full training and will be assigned to wards such as West Newton or West Raynham.

Tasks range from helping staff with the delivery of food trays to patients and assisting with hand washing. Cutting up food or helping with feeding is also part of the role, depending on the patient’s needs.

Chief Nurse Emma Hardwick said: “Meal times are a chance to sit and chat with the people we care about. Unfortunately, this is not always possible for some of our patients.

“We would like to appeal to the people of West Norfolk to help us provide a positive experience for patients by becoming a MealMate, which will support their recovery.

“The hospital is incredibly grateful to the 300 people who already undertake a range of volunteering roles.”

Volunteers aged over 16 are needed. There is no requirement to support all three meal times, just what time you can. All will be subject to the normal recruitment procedure and a DBS clearance will be required.

If you can help, call voluntary services manager Paul Holley-Smith on 01553 214687 or email Paul.Holley-Smith@qehkl.nhs.uk putting MealMates in the subject title

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