The impact of such a simple, yet heartfelt program has been huge. The patients who qualify for the program are identified and when volunteers visit on the units at mealtimes they are assigned to a patient. In addition to providing companionship, volunteers may assist patients by opening packets, fetching straws or cutting up food into bite sized pieces.
Ariana Gargano is a volunteer at Milton District Hospital and sees firsthand the impact of her visits, “I introduce myself to the patients and visit with them and after awhile they usually laugh and open up with me and then I will ask them if they are ready to eat. I help them by opening their containers and encouraging them to taste their dishes.”
“The most beautiful moment is when they see us, they are so excited to tell us about their day. As we talk, I try to prompt them to take another bite of their dinner or a sip of their juice,” continued Ariana. “I remind them that eating and drinking is important to their health and for their recovery.”
“We’ve seen a big change around mealtimes with a lot of positive outcomes,” concluded Claudia. “Our patients are happier and are socializing a lot better. They are enjoying the companionship, look forward to mealtimes and are eating more. This unique program engages our patients and enhances the patient’s experience. Special thanks to our wonderful volunteers!”