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Right Arrow Come dine with me at hospital
06 June 2013 at 11:48
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is recruiting volunteers to take part in a new project called Come Dine with Me. These volunteers will be known as dining companions.

The role of a dining companion will be to sit with a patient on a one-to-one basis and provide assistance to help them eat. The volunteers will help to enhance patients’ eating and drinking experience and will have more time to spend with patients than the nursing staff, without interruptions. The volunteers are not meant to undertake the duties of a trained member of staff, but simply donate their time to sit and provide companionship for those patients who need it.

Angela Kelly, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “As well as helping patients with eating, the dining companion can chat, encourage them to eat and help alleviate the boredom and loneliness that can be experienced while staying in hospital.

“This is vital to some patients who do not receive any visitors and could be lonely or anxious or may be suffering from a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s.”

If you are interested in finding out more please contact Chris Pilkington on 01704 704955 or email

Issued by Kimberley Rushton, Senior Communications and Marketing Officer, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Telephone 01704 705061

Notes for editors

1. Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust manages Southport and Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk and District General Hospital. It is also responsible for many community healthcare services for adults in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire. The Trust provides healthcare to a population of 258,000 people and employs 3,500 staff.

2. Personal qualities that are needed to become a dining companion:

An interest in people:
• Warm and friendly manner
• Comfortable around people who are ill and may be upset, angry, anxious, confused or withdrawn
• Understanding of basic body language and facial expressions
• Ability to empathise – put yourself in someone else’s shoes

An interest in food:
• Belief that food is an important part of care during illness
• Understanding of wellbeing effects of food – such as pleasure in tasting food and mealtimes as a social occasion
• Understanding and respecting personal choice in food

Other personal qualities:
• Calm and confident in a busy environment
• Happy to talk to ward staff and other ward visitors