What Happens When You See a Dietitian?
The dietetic team can help you when…
- You have been identified as undernourished. All patients in hospital and nursing homes are assessed using MUST ( malnutrition universal screening tool), this identifies those patients who need to see the dietitian.
- You need to follow a therapeutic diet as part of your medical treatment eg for diabetes, kidney failure.
- You are unable to eat and drink and require help with feeding eg feeding by a tube following surgery or a stroke.
If you are an inpatient…
The dietitian will see you at your bedside and explain the reason for your referral, and any changes needed to your diet. The appropriate special diet and nutritional supplements ( if required) will be organised by the dietitian
The dietitian will let you know if you need another review. This review may be carried out by a dietetic assistant, who will monitor your progress and liaise with your dietitian. Alternatively if you have complex nutrition needs, for example intravenous feeding, the nutrition nurse may assess you.
Prior to your discharge if you still require a special diet you will be given advice for home. If you need follow up after discharge the dietitian will either arrange follow up at the hospital outpatient clinic, arrange a telephone review or refer you to the community dietitians.
If you have been referred for an outpatient appointment…
You will be sent a letter or telephoned inviting you to call to arrange an appointment. Alternatively you will be sent a letter with an appointment date or time. If you are unable to attend please call as soon as convenient so we can reschedule this.
We will be as flexible as possible, however the location of outpatient clinic where you will be seen will depend on where you live, who has referred you and the type of specialist clinic required. You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to an appointment to support you.
During your first appointment the dietitian will discuss your nutritional needs and work with you to set individual goals. At the end of your appointment the Dietitian will discuss arrangements for your future appointments when needed. You may have the opportunity to be involved in group education programmes.
Michael was seen by the dietitian for advice with meeting his nutritional requirements by tube feeding:
“The dietitian was always helpful and listened to everything I had to say. When I wanted to change my feeds she sorted this out straight away”
Barbara sees the dietitian on the dialysis unit, as part of her treatment for kidney failure and to help prevent weight loss:
“In the 18 months I have seen the dietitian I have gained weight and had a lot of good advice. They are constantly looking for ways that will improve their patients health and are always in regular contact, never intrusive, and always pleasant.”