Helping Hands Wanted: Nurses in Britain are having trouble finding the time to feed patients:
'Food, and help with eating it, should be recognised by ward staff as an essential part of care, and they should be given time to perform this task.'
It is an essential part of nursing care, as essential as avoiding bed sores, but it's often overlooked here in the states, too. The meal trays get deposited at the bedside by someone whose job it is to distribute trays. That's their only job. Later they come by and pick them up, often oblivious to the fact that it's not been touched by the incapacitated elderly patient in the bed. It seems like a job that could be done by volunteers or nurse aides, and yet it often goes overlooked. posted by Sydney on
8/29/2006 01:25:00 PM
The idea that feeding and supervision of meals could be done by volunteers has got a lot of exposure in the UK media. However, the reality is that it is not that simple in the UK.
If you are working with children or vulnerable people (as incapacitated elderly people may well be) you will be be required to obtain a clearance from the Criminal Records Office. This involves searching through criminal databases and researching your address (and former addresses) and is a process that takes several months, and for which somebody will need to pay about $400 for the full version.
The forms are complex and you need many types of ID to verify your identity. A significant problem that many charities have discovered is that retired women (who are the most likely to be volunteers) don't have these forms of ID. They don't have passports or driving licences. They don't hold bank accounts (all in the husband's name) ditto for the utility bills etc. A number of my local charities lost their biggest pool of helpers when these requirements came in, and all because these women could not muster the documents to pass a CRO check.
For a number of reasons, the use of volunteers is an easy soundbite but not a readily workable solution.