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Dietetics and Nutriton

What is a Dietitian?

A Dietitian is a health professional that is qualified to give accurate advice on diet and nutrition to those diagnosed with different medical conditions, and/or with a compromised nutritional intake during illness. 

What does a Dietitian do?

Hospital dietitians work with patients who fall into two broad categories:

Patients who have a medical condition where making changes to the diet has been proven to improve or maintain health. This includes patients with diabetes, coeliac disease, chronic kidney disease and heart disease.

Patients who are malnourished or at risk of becoming malnourished. In the hospital setting, weight loss and poor intake can occur during illness, due to pain, inability to eat, lack of appetite, an increase in the body’s energy requirement, and  swallowing difficulties. Malnutrition can affect recovery and the length of time a patient stays in hospital. Signs of malnutrition include weight loss, poor wound healing and muscle wasting.

Many patients who already have special dietary needs at home, require extra nutritional intervention to maximise their nutritional status as their medical condition changes while in hospital.

While in hospital, if you are assessed by the Dietitian, you will be provided with a dietary intervention/nutrition support to aid you recovery, and aim to meet your nutritional requirements as your medical condition evolves.

Patients will be provided with dietary information, and educated on their diet for home, if they need to continue on a special diet eg if they need to regain weight, or need ongoing longterm diet changes due to dialysis.

The Dietitian assesses the patient’s nutritional status, and with the patient/patient’s family prepares a nutrition treatment plan that supports the patient’s nutritional needs, medical condition and quality of life. This plan usually requires adjustment as the patient’s medical condition changes.

Dietitians work closely with the medical/surgical teams, nursing staff, speech and language therapists, specialist nurses, pharmacy and other health professionals involved in patient care.

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