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Nurs Times. 2015 Mar 18-24;111(12):22-3.

Benefit of using volunteers for mealtime assistance.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Poor nutrition is common among older inpatients and giving them enough help to eat and drink is challenging for time-pressured nurses.

AIM:

To compare the use of trained volunteer mealtime assistants (MTAs) with usual care on female medicine for older people wards.

METHOD:

A total of 29 MTAs helped 3,911 patients on the intervention ward on 229 weekday lunchtimes.

RESULTS:

Interviews and focus groups with patients, relatives, nurses and volunteers confirmed that MTAs improved the quality of mealtime care. Staff and MTAs recognised they were able to give extra time to patients who struggled to eat, which relieved pressure on nursing staff.

CONCLUSION:

Trained volunteers can help older female patients at mealtimes, including helping them to eat, in a manner that is safe, sustainable and well received.

PMID:
26182554
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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