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Dining companion volunteer

Dietetic Team dining volunteers provide assistance and company to patients at mealtimes.  You will receive comprehensive training from the Dietetics Team to ensure that you understand the role and how to give encouragement and support to patients at mealtimes.  Dining volunteers will not be allocated to a specific ward and you will support patients across the hospital on a variety of different wards.  Your volunteering availability should be agreed locally with your volunteer supervisor.  Volunteers can help on any day of the week but normal volunteering times for dining companions are 11am-2pm or 5pm-7pm, but this is flexible around you.

Please note it is a requirement to attend the dining companion training session in order to volunteer as a Dietetic Team dining volunteer.


  • Liaise with volunteer supervisor to note what ward and which patients you have been allocated to each week.
  • Encourage patients identified to you to eat and drink, and remind the patient if they have not finished their food
  • Assist patients with cutting food and opening packets, and assist with patient dignity.
  • Assist with feeding patients that would not otherwise be able to feed themselves (you must not assist patients who are on a texture modified diet)
  • Ensure the patient has access to false teeth, glasses etc. which they may need
  • Ensure food and drink is within easy range of each patient
  • Remove crockery from the bedside area and ensure the area is kept clean and tidy
  • Refresh patient water jugs as necessary (after checking with the nursing staff).
  • Monitoring food and fluid intake by completing patient food and fluid intake charts
  • Signing off food and fluid chart following each meal
  • Writing a short handover summary at the bottom of food charts
  • Encouraging patients to take their supplements as identified by staff
  • Support a patient who is a slow eater by ensuring that time is taken to allow the patient to eat and drink at their pace. The patient should not feel rushed to eat.
  • Where a patient is visually impaired, the volunteer should ensure that the patient understands what the volunteer is doing at each stage of the mealtime.

We will support you by:

  1. Providing and delivering a mandatory training program of Fire Safety, Infection Prevention and Health and Safety modules.
  2. Providing additional mandatory dining companion training.
  3. Providing access to other training as appropriate
  4. Linking you with a volunteer supervisor who will be your main point of contact, as well as the Volunteer Services team.
  5. Listening to your feedback about your role
  6. Reimbursing reasonable travel expenses incurred as a result of volunteering (see Volunteering Expenses policy)
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