What does a dietitian do?
Dietetics is the interpretation and communication of the science of nutrition; enabling people to make informed and practical choices about the food they eat and lifestyle, in both health and disease. We:
- Give nutrition and dietary advice to individuals or groups after assessing their nutritional needs and advising on the most appropriate diet.
- Promote nutritional wellbeing to the public; including all age groups, ethnic groups and all social and financial circumstances to prevent and treat food related health problems.
- Must be registered and are regulated by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work in the NHS.
- Are the only qualified professionals to assess, diagnose and treat nutritional problems by dietary advice.
- Filter information from the media and guide patients to evidence based advice.
This is where nutrients in the diet; e.g. protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins, fluid, alcohol etc can be manipulated to help with different conditions and diseases. For examples please see the table below.
Nutritional support is used to help patients meet their dietary needs which can be by:
- ‘Food First’, where the usual diet is supplemented to make it more energy rich, for example adding cream to custard.
- Using dietary supplements, where a nutritious dietary drink is added to increase the nutritional quality and energy of the daily diet.
- Artificial nutrition: this is where a person is fed through a tube into their stomach (PEG or naso-gastric tube).
Obesity is increasing in the population and this is linked to poorer health, e.g. reduced mobility, diabetes, coronary heart disease. Patients in Fife are seen individually or in groups with a multidisciplinary approach to encourage behaviour and lifestyle changes; e.g. Winning by Losing, previously Kingdom Weight Challenge, etc.
This is the work to develop resources and programmes to encourage everyone to have a healthy diet, develop cooking skills and take regular exercise. This will help prevent obesity and other long term conditions enabling people to enjoy a longer, healthier, disease free life.
Training and Education
A range of topics is provided for staff education and other patient groups to help patients and their carers take responsibility for their own health. The department has a number of dietetic students during the year for their practical training.
1st June 2016