Catering with a smile
We take a look behind the scenes at Ashford Hospital
Chef Manager at Ashford Hospital, Mavis Asiedu, giggles with an infectious laugh as she explains how she loves her job. Having worked for Ashford and St Peter’s for 15 years, she’s passionate about great customer service and quality food.
Mavis is a well-known and popular figure at both hospitals, with three years spent at St Peter’s. Now based at Ashford, Mavis and her team manage the hospital cafés which serve over 500 patients and visitors every day.
Working five, or sometimes six days a week, Mavis lives nearby in Feltham and gets into work around 6.30am in the morning. “It’s important to check the deliveries that come in to make sure the right deliveries are received for the hospital cafés. One of the cafés opens from 8am - 5pm while the outpatients café on the 1st floor is open from 8.30am - 4pm five days a week. They’re always busy. Mornings are spent serving up hot drinks and lunch times can get hectic. The outpatients café takes pride in serving a range of vegetarian and traditional hot meals, salads, snacks and baked breads.”
Keeping customers happy ‘front of house’ while making sure the administration is effective behind the scenes means that regular team meetings are important. The Ashford team also get involved with special menu plans for patients, plus catering for events held by staff across the site. The team also help to prepare the Volunteers’ Christmas lunch, serving over 220 volunteers this year at St Peter’s.
Mavis also oversees the patient catering service at Ashford and likes to visit the wards to talk to patients about the services and quality of the food. There’s no let up for the team over Christmas as one of the cafés is open on Christmas Day, and Mavis expects to be in the hospital to work that day too.
A dab-hand at cooking herself, if you were invited round for dinner, expect a delicious vegetable lasagne, one of Mavis’ ‘signature dishes’. Maciel Vinagre, Assistant Hotel Service Manager said, “Mavis is one of the best chef managers that I’ve worked with. She takes pride in her job, is an exceptional member of the team and is always prepared to help others.”
Trust selected to join collaborative Tackling Acute Kidney Injury Project
Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals has been selected to join four other Trusts in an exciting collaborative project to tackle Acute Kidney Injury. The project was launched at a special event in November at St Peter’s Hospital and the roll out process began in December in the Medical Short Stay Unit.
Acute Kidney Injury (also known as AKI) is a sudden reduction in kidney function. It is not a physical injury to the kidney and often occurs without symptoms. As well as being common, AKI is harmful to patients and sometimes can be preventable.
Tackling AKI is a quality improvement project, funded by the Health Foundation, which has been set up to test a potential solution to address these problems. We want to improve the quality of care that patients receive when AKI happens. By doing so, we hope to improve the number of patients who recover from AKI.
The aim of this project is to educate staff to be able to detect and treat AKI earlier to improve patient outcomes.
Pictured above: Chief Nurse, Heather Caudle, Renal Consultant from St Helier Dr James Marsh, Clinical Lead Dr Ian White, Quality Improvement Project Manager Carol Jones, Renal Registrar Tracey Salter, Clinical Nurse Lead Sue Wilson and Medical Director David Fluck
Support from our Volunteers
Volunteering continues to build across both sites. We now have three Patient Experience Stewards placed in A&E at St Peter’s. These volunteer roles are situated in A&E to help patients and patients’ families with familiarising themselves with the A&E experience and helping them during their visit. It’s a fast-paced environment which requires a decisive and consistent approach. Our volunteers are fully trained and then shadow staff on the wards to gain experience. We’ve also recently starting working with David Sills, our lead Admiral nurse for dementia, to recruit volunteers to support patients with dementia. Dementia patients benefit from one-to-one interaction, particularly when they’re in an environment which is not familiar to them, such as a hospital. Our volunteers are really making a difference here, in spending valuable time and engaging personally.
The number of volunteers in the maternity unit has increased over the last few months and we are now busy recruiting for volunteers for the Paediatric Team. People come to volunteering for a variety of reasons, often because a loved one has been a patient at one of our hospitals and people then wish to ‘give something back’ or possibly because someone is interested in a medical career and views volunteering as a good way of getting first hand experience in that area. Whatever the reason, we’re always looking for committed volunteers – just a few hours a week can make all the difference and it can be a great way of building skills and confidence and making new friends.
More recently, our Volunteers’ Christmas Lunch at St Peter’s Hospital on 11th December was a huge success. Over 220 volunteers – those that volunteer at Ashford and St Peter’s, enjoyed a three course Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. The lunch is held annually as a way of saying thank you for the effort and hard work that our volunteers give over the year.
A social whirl at Christmas
Once again, we had a number of gratefully received Christmas tree donations - from our League of Friends and also from previous patients, which started to get us into the festive spirit.
We were also lucky enough to receive a special visit from Santa Claus on Saturday 5th December, who told us it was a privilege to meet the children of many of our hardworking staff. Lots of our teams took the opportunity to take part in our hotly contested Decorate a Door competition – their sense of fun, and creativity was apparent!
Continuing to make the most of the versatile talents of our people at Ashford and St Peter’s, we were also serenaded with music throughout the month, with festive performances by the chapel choir, Ashford and St Peter’s choir, and specially revived medical secretaries choir.
In the meantime, the pilot of the Social Club Café Evening each Thursday has seen a steadily building group of different faces from across Ashford and St Peter’s and our partner organisations on the St Peter’s site. Looking ahead to 2016, the Social Committee have been considering lots of ideas for activities, received through the survey that ran over the summer – activities such as a summer fete or barbecue, a walking group, theatre trips etc.
Stay Well this Winter
During winter, our local health services are always busier, and we’ve asked two local experts to share their tips and advice on keeping well, plus when and where to seek help if you need it.
Advice from Liz Lawn, GP in Chertsey:
“As the weather gets colder it is sensible to stock up on basic cold and flu remedies, including those for children. Remember that there is lots of advice and help out there – NHS Choices and www.selfcareforum.org are both useful websites and pharmacies are an excellent source of information.
If you feel unable to manage at home or your condition is getting worse then call 111 for advice or contact your GP. Particularly for our elderly patients, do not wait until you are seriously unwell before acting. In a real emergency always call 999 or visit your local A&E. Finally, do what you can to keep yourself and your family well. Keep your house warm (at least 18°C), make sure you have your flu vaccination if you are eligible, and think about your lifestyle – stopping smoking, eating healthily and keeping active will all help.”
Martin Mandelbaum, Community Pharmacist , adds:
“People can get so much more than prescriptions from their pharmacy. As the first point of call for minor ailments we can offer advice and take the pressure off other local health services, signposting you to the right information and organisations to help.
We can help you to organise your repeat prescriptions and you should think about this in advance over the holiday period so that you don’t run out. We can also help you review and manage your medications, give flu jabs and provide stop-smoking and emergency contraception services.”