Hospice Hearty Meals was inspired by our patients in response to COVID-19. Due to reduced activity, some patients‘ function decreased, affecting their ability to cook nutritious meals. Others, who relied on family/friends to prepare meals, were impacted by shielding.
St Andrew’s Hospice suspended outpatient services to comply with Government guidance and reduce the risk to vulnerable patients/carers. During telephone and video support calls a need was identified in accessing nutritious meals. Clients were no longer participating in regular exercise/activity and were losing function/dexterity and struggled to prepare meals, they became reliant on ready meals/snacks. Others depended on family/friends to support them with home-cooked meals and this wasn’t an option. Carers advised the catering burden on them during the pandemic and lack of respite meant they were struggling and cooking less. Carers were fearful of visiting shops and having no-one to stay with their loved one.
Method Costings were included for a 12 week trial, for the most vulnerable patients/carers. A fresh, nutritious, two-course meal (soup/main or main/pudding) was prepared onsite and packaged based on requirements (for oven reheating or microwave). Delivered three times per week.
Results and conclusions 579 meals were delivered in the 12 weeks of the project. 100% of respondents rated the service as excellent. Feedback found this service to be invaluable during uncertain times. Patients/carers reported that they ate well, were less anxious and felt more able to cope.
‘Great service especially when going through such a hard time.’
‘This service has improved my health greatly by relieving some of the stresses of lockdown.’
‘Excellent service which saved ‘valuable time’ to spend together[with loved one] before death.’
Moving forward Due to this success we applied for funding which allowed us to continue and to date we have provided over 1000 meals to patients/carers across Lanarkshire.
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