At the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA), we are lucky to have some brilliant volunteers helping us to provide care and support to our patients, visitors, and colleagues.
One group of volunteers, our Dining Companions, have recently been nominated for the prestigious Parliamentary Awards and are making a name for themselves as being an essential support on our wards across the Trust. Their support during mealtimes helps to not only provide companionship and assistance to patients during mealtimes but also helps to improve patient’s nutrition and hydration levels.
Last month we lost a very special volunteer and the inspiration for our Dining Companions. Francis Silcock sadly passed away before the announcement of the Parliamentary Awards nomination, something she would have been very proud of.
Francis was a long-serving volunteer at Salford Care Organisation, part of the NCA. When her husband was admitted to hospital, Francis got a first hand look at how busy our colleagues could get on the wards, and she wanted to find a way to help.
So, she travelled to the hospital by bus every day to help by looking after her husband at every lunch and teatime. She made sure he ate his meals and in doing so meant that one less patient needed attending to during the busy midday and evening rush.
Unfortunately, Francis’ husband passed away and even in her grief, Francis was determined to find a way to continue to help the brilliant team that provided his care. She sat down with Lucy Boulter, Head of Volunteering at the NCA to discuss ways that our volunteers could help colleagues and patients on the wards during busy mealtimes. From there, the Dining Companions’ legacy began.
Without Francis’ kindness and dedication, we wouldn’t have been able to help more than 6000 patients over the past few years and provide some much-needed support to our colleagues.
The volunteer team is currently recruiting for new members to all areas including the Dining Companion team, please visit our volunteer page for more information on how to get involved and help us to keep Francis’ legacy alive.