Dietitians do Prevention by Laura King

Laura King 1Next week sees the return of Dietitians’ week and the theme this year is ‘Dietitians do Prevention’ with each day having sub-themes. Follow #DietitiansWeek on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for some insights into our involvement in a wide and varied range of preventative activities.

Here in NHS D&G we have dietetic teams working across these areas which may come as surprise to the majority of folk working in the acute hospital who perhaps associate us mainly with artificial feeding and oral nutritional supplements for those who have scored 2 or more when nutritional screening is done on the wards.

As a small team we recognise that we have to play a role in educating and enabling patients, their families and carers to prevent over and under nutrition by supporting self-management, the dietitian can’t come shopping with you, cook your meals and help you to eat them and make the best choices, so we have to rely on using our communication skills to educate and inform patients and those close to them to help have a healthy, balanced diet that meets their needs.

We factor in ‘what matters to you’ and our assessments incorporate a huge range of factors as this poster illustrates:

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Our Team works in the following areas all of which have significant roles to play in prevention:

Community Nutrition Support  (Kerry, Alexandra, Jackie, Jennifer, Lis, Dillon and Carole) – We provide practical, evidence based dietary advice, specifically tailored to each individual. Through dietary advice we aim to prevent and treat a wide range of medical conditions and empower people to make appropriate diet and lifestyle choices. Community Dietitians see patients in a variety of settings including community hospitals, nursing and residential homes, clinics and patient’s own homes. Our role identifies, prevents and manages malnutrition in the community. We liase with individuals to create realistic and achievable goals to optimise/improve their dietary intake.

Various medical conditions require an individual to be provided with their nutrition via a tube. We are responsible for managing these patients in the community, either in their own home or in a nursing home/community hospital setting.

We deliver educational talks on various topics including cardiac rehabilitation, stroke, Parkinsons disease and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Renal (Fiona) – Supporting patients with advanced kidney disease in managing complex nutritional requirements. Preventing further complications that can arise from inability to excrete electrolytes and fluid overload as well as avoiding weight and muscle loss for this group of patients who have increased requirements for protein once dialysis has commenced.

Gastro (Gemma and Sarah) – Preventing complications from poor management of coeliac disease such as the obvious GI disturbances through to the ‘hidden’ consequences such as increased risk of bowel cancer and oesteoporosis. Supporting patients living with inflammatory bowel disease to manage their symptoms and optimise their health and well being. Preventing the often crippling effects of irritable bowel syndrome by supporting patients to use the low FODMAP diet to identify trigger foods and modify their diets in a safe and sustainable way.  Preventing malnutrition in liver disease which is often masked by fluid shifts.

Paediatrics (Mhari, Anne and Tracey)  – Supporting parents & their child in managing children with complex needs, tube feeding, diabetes, gastroenterology issues, cystic fibrosis, weight management, faltering growth and allergies – preventing short and long term consequences of under nutrition.

Diabetes (Katy, Nicola, Sally, Sheena, Wendy): We are an integral part of the diabetes multi-disciplinary team providing a dynamic and evidence based service. We deliver quality assured education, and aim to support patient driven care and safe self management to those living with diabetes and their family. We also provide continuing education and support for health care professionals working with individuals with diabetes.

Weight Management (Katy, Nicola, Sally, Sheena, Wendy): We provide person centred, safe and evidence based advice to individuals with complex needs and requirements. This encompasses a variety of approaches to help aid weight loss and improve quality of life.

Mental Health and eating disorders (Sam and James) – Supporting recovery from mental health crises and from the consequences of living with disordered eating behaviours.

Catering (Debbie)- Working with Catering to achieve menus for inpatients across the region that offer a varied, balanced diet to support their recovery and prevent complications such as poor wound healing and  pressure ulcers. Also ensuring guidance for Catering teams to create therapeutic or special menus for patients’ individual dietary requirements. Training staff who make and deliver food, fluid and nutritional care to patients in hospital.

Acute (Laura, Anneka, Laura, Jennifer, Laura and Sheree) – seeing patients identified as being at risk of undernutrition to assess their individual needs and support recovery. Preventing increased length of stay, poor wound healing, pressure ulcers and other complications of malnutrition and providing advice for discharge to help patients stay well and continue their recovery once home with or without the support of the community dietitians as appropriate.

All this activity is coordinated and supported by our Head of Dietetics (Lorna).

The acute team are planning to pilot some staff education sessions on B3 and D7 to support ward staff in preventing malnutrition as well as identifying the patients who need our one-to-one support, so please get in touch with Dietetics on 01387 241568 if you would like to know more, want to arrange any training on your wards or if you have any questions about this blog post and what we do.

Meanwhile here are some pictures of the acute team (Anneka, Jennifer, Laura and Laura) ….

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Laura King is Lead Acute Dietitian at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary

The Dietetic Detectives by the DGRI Dietetic Team

As Dietitians’………………….. we are Detectives
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The patient in front of us has a nutritional problem –they are underweight, they have lost weight and they are struggling to eat – but why? It’s a mystery! Could the mystery be they are malabsorbing due to chronic bowel inflammation, bowel obstruction, or pancreatitis? Or do they have difficulty swallowing due to stroke, neurological disorders or head and neck cancer? And the list goes on…

Cue the acute Dietitian!
To get to the bottom of this, we need to look for clues. Clues come in all forms;
anthropometry
biochemistry
presenting medical problem
current symptoms
past medical history
current medications
environment and the patient’s own beliefs
psychological factors
As Dietitians we gather this information and put it together to solve the mystery.

But then what?

We then need to work with the patient, carers and family as well as the multidisciplinary teams to translate our gathered finding (clues). We use our clues to calculate nutritional requirements, this allows us to individualise patients needs – their calorie, protein and fluid needs. We then draw from the evidence base and our own experience, incorporating the tools of our trade some of which are:
Oral nutrition – Fortified diet, nourishing drinks, snacks and oral nutritional supplements.
Enteral (tube) Feeding – Into the gastrointestinal tract
Parenteral (intravenous) Feeding – Into the blood stream via venflons or central lines

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Here in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary our focus is on malnutrition.  People may think malnutrition is a thing of the past in this country, but according to a recent publication by the British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) 25-34% of patients admitted to hospital in the UK are at risk of malnutrition (under nutrition).  Malnutrition is associated with less favourable outcomes such as increased length of hospital stay, impaired wound healing and reduced ability to fight infection. It is therefore important to identify and treat malnutrition as soon as possible.
Elsewhere in the other areas there are different patient groups receiving expert nutritional advice, projects being carried out and contributions to national research going on.
The evidence base regarding diet and health continues to grow; treating and preventing malnutrition in the hospital and community setting, gastroenterology, paediatrics, weight management, diabetes, renal, catering and mental health to name a few.

A few myths about dietitians:-
We never eat chocolate
We never drink alcohol
We judge you when we meet you in the local takeaway
Detox diets are good for you
Superfoods exist and are recommended
All we give is weight loss advice
Dietitians will inspect your poo (although we will ask about it)

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So hopefully you see there is more to dietetics than the common misconceptions – that we’ll be spying on your trolley at the supermarket, and of course we never eat cake, we always have our five a day and we do in fact we always have the perfect diet!
We hope this gives you a small insight into our profession.

And so this morning we’re off to the wards again,

NG tubes, Fortisips and TPN,

We’ll calculate needs, and make sure they’re met,

We won’t stop until food charts are used, you can bet.

Ensuring good nutrition, we can’t get enough,

Though we know sometimes it’s gonna be tough,

So we’ll chat, and we’ll laugh but we’ll work till we’re blue,

So when the cake comes out remember, we’ll have some too!

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This weeks blog was a joint effort by the Dietetic Team at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary