The world’s first Dietitians Week (9-13 June 2014), led by the British Dietetic Association (BDA) aimed to highlight the importance of dietitians and the role they play with patients nutrition as part of their care in hospitals and in the community.
Marking the week Ashford and St Peter’s held stands in the main reception at both hospital sites with information regarding the Trusts development of its dietitian services, and also launched our new bedside information folder for patients. These detail what we offer to inpatients - including the weekly menus, special diets, such as gluten free, modified textures and those for patients with cultural/religious dietary restrictions. We held tastings of our in-patient catering during the week too.
We have been working on various initiatives to improve our dietitian services at the Trust over the past year, these include:
- Specialist Weight Management Service - For selected patients with a body mass index of 40, or of 35 with other medical problems such as diabetes.
- Older Person’s Assessment and Liaison (OPAL) Service - Providing frail over 75s with specialist assessment. Between a third and a half of all patients seen within the service present with a high risk of malnutrition and require help from the dietitian to help keep them well-nourished at home.
- FODMAPs Clinic - A comprehensive new approach to managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), aiming to help identify any possible dietary triggers for the condition, offering sufferers potential improvements in symptoms and quality of life.
- ‘Mission Nutrition’ – A hospital-wide project to reduce the amount of nutritional supplement drinks used in hospital, often inappropriately, to help those who aren’t eating well. With a dietitian-led ‘Mission Nutrition’ Study Day was also held with attendance from over 50 professionals from health and social care backgrounds across North-West Surrey.
- Development of an online training resource for clinical staff in the hospitals and community to use to improve knowledge of malnutrition, screening for malnutrition and how to treat it. Also available are patient information leaflets, posters and teaching materials.
- ‘Food First’ training for local care homes, delivered with local community pharmacists to provide further advice and training to residential and nursing care homes to help identify malnutrition and tackle it effectively, including specific advice for the frail elderly and those with dementia.
David Gray, Senior Dietitian with colleague in front of our Dietitians Week stand
Ashford and St Peter’s Senior Dietitian David Gray said, “Everybody needs to eat and drink to stay alive, but when you’re sick or in hospital this isn’t always easy. Dietitians help people to overcome these problems and help speed up their recovery. With malnutrition costing the UK an estimated £13 billion every year, twice the cost of obesity, the role of the dietitian in combating this has never been more important.”