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Kent hospital introduces free meals to parents of inpatients on children’s ward

13th Dec 2023 - 06:00
Kent hospital introduces free meals to parents of inpatients
Food is now available free of charge for parents and carers staying with their child while they’re on the children’s ward at Medway Maritime Hospital, so they have one less thing to worry about.

Available every day, parents and careers can choose either the dish of the day or one of the main courses – a sandwich, jacket potato with fillings or a salad.

Vidya Pundit-Dermody, head of nursing for children’s services at Medway Maritime Hospital, said: “We take the health and wellbeing of our parents and carers just as seriously as their child’s and I was keen to ensure that we are at the forefront of being able to provide this initiative for our local community, especially as the hospital is based in a deprived area.

“I began speaking with Simon Clark, senior facilities manager for catering, who was on board with the idea from the beginning and worked with us to make it happen. It’s been really well received since we launched it a few weeks ago.”

The concept was fist created by Sophie’s Legacy. Sophie was diagnosed with cancer in September 2020 and passed away in September 2021 aged ten. Sophie knew she was dying and set out writing a bucket list of things she wanted changing in her memory.

Two of the things she wanted changed were improvements to food for children in hospital and for parents to be fed when staying with their child. Sophie's Legacy was set up to support families in hospital and complete Sophie's bucket list for her.

Jayne Black, chief executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust which operates the hospital, added: “It’s a worrying time for parents and carers when their child is on a hospital ward. Their focus is on caring and looking after their child’s wellbeing but it’s just as important that they look after themselves too.

“By providing a food menu for them not only does it ensure they are getting the nutrition they need to stay well but also that they don’t have to leave their child’s bedside, which can be distressing for some children, in order to get a snack or meal.”

Written by
Edward Waddell