Social eating project brings healthy benefits for patients
A social eating project which encourages patients to dine together in a social setting is bringing healthy benefits at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The project which is currently being championed on wards specialising in the care of older people at the Northern General Hospital, encourages patients to eat together and socialise in a dining room area rather than eating alone.
The project is already showing a number of benefits to the patients taking part, both mentally and physically.
Nigel Coulson, Matron in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Social eating is really beneficial to patients. Until we started the project all of our patients ate either in bed, or in the chair at the side of their bed and it is fantastic to see our patients interacting for patients now.”
“Social eating not only gives patients the opportunity to socialise and a have a change of scenery which is really important for emotional wellbeing, but it also has physical health benefits including improvements in nutrition and eating well and mobility benefits due to practising walking to and from the dining area.”
The lunches are facilitated by therapists, who work closely with the nursing team on the wards to support the patients during their meals and with getting to and from the dining area. Whilst the patients are eating, the staff encourage discussions about popular topics such as favourite films and music, which helps the patients to feel at ease and socialise.
Lily Armitage, a patient taking part in the social eating lunches on Brearley 5 at the Northern General Hospital said: "I really enjoy it, it is great and it breaks the day up."
Patient John Gilbert, aged 89, said: "The company is good, that is the main thing. It is a change of environment which helps you to recover."
Emma Kirby, Communications Assistant
Tel: 0114 2713453