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Dietitians Week 3rd - 7th June

Published on 04 June 2019 10:20 AM

Increasingly many of us are taking a greater interest in what we eat. Never before is there such a choice of healthy recipes, advice on various diets and latest news on “super foods”.

Yet sadly statistics show that some people are not getting the correct messages. Research also shows that more people than ever are suffering the effects of malnutrition, especially amongst elderly people. Over million people a year are suffering the effects of not eating enough, with 1.3 million of those being over 65. It’s estimated that 30-42 per cent of patients admitted to care homes are at risk of malnutrition. Being undernourished increases your risk of complications and frailty and increases the length of hospital stays.

Health experts have singled out bad diet is the single biggest lifestyle factor in determining ill health – even more than smoking.

This week the trust is celebrating Dietetics Week, a major national health awareness campaign, which promotes the role of the Dietitian plus the need for better access to dietetic services. It is also formally launching its new, integrated N&D service for people living in west Hertfordshire. The service focuses on helping people of all ages to have good nutrition and giving them the right support to manage their dietary needs. The event is being held in St Albans on June 6 at the Jubilee Centre from 1pm until 4pm.

82-year old Frank McCullagh is a resident at the Knebworth Care Home and has received care from one of HCT’s Dietitian, Janet Dennis. His GP was concerned about his weight loss due, after being diagnosed with cancer. Frank was told to take food supplements, despite enjoying a good appetite. Through Janet’s regular visits and looking at Frank’s individual needs, he now no longer needs to take supplements and has made excellent progress. They have regular catch-ups to discuss the best nutritional foods he should take, plus the need for hydration. Frank insists since stopping the supplements he’s feeling stronger and has gained weight. Watch Frank’s story by clicking here.

HCT Dietitian Leeanna Kelly first saw, Sheila Bateman, 88 from Hemel Hempstead when she was discharged from hospital. She had lost almost three stone, weighing just seven stone three pounds, was malnourished and had related pressure ulcers. Like Frank she had also been given supplements but her initial weight gain soon started to plateau. Leeanna encouraged Sheila to look at fortifying her food intake, which resulted in Sheila’s weight rising steadily, gaining seven pounds. In addition she’s also seen a big improvement in her pressure ulcers and no longer needs to take supplements. You can view her story here.

HCT delivers N&D services across much of Hertfordshire. Since last November HCT has renewed its contract to deliver services across West Hertfordshire using an exciting partnership model, with adults and children now able to access services through a more convenient single referral point.

The priorities of the West Herts N&D service are:

• Preventing malnutrition and promoting good nutrition using food through education, community support, public health and social care services.
• Providing education and training for health and social care workers so they have the skills to encourage their clients to eat the right food.
• Providing specialist care and support for people with specific conditions such as coeliac disease, or for people who need to be tube fed.
• Encouraging people to be able to manage their nutritional needs by having access to a variety of resources
While HCT is the lead N&D organisation, it has been joined by four key partners to deliver the service. Each will focus on specific aspects of care and support:
• West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust – providing specialist multi-disciplinary support for both children and adults with nutrition and dietetics needs, for example through its upper gastro-intestinal cancer service.
• Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) – delivering training on the recognition and treatment of malnutrition for local carer agencies and care home teams.
• Age UK Hertfordshire – helping those identified as “socially” malnourished, to receive practical support e.g. shopping on line, joining clubs and activities.
• Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – providing specialist multi-disciplinary weight management services for obese patients, often with more complex needs

Marion Dunstone, Director of Operations at HCT said: “Having started my NHS career as a dietitian, this is a subject dear to my heart. Effective nutrition and diet are fundamental to all our lives. This service helps provide better support to a wider range of patients, both adults and children. This may apply to those who have difficulty with eating or maintaining a good diet, as well as with carers and other healthcare services, including local GPs and care homes and hospices. It is being delivered successfully through four key partners, drawing on their expertise, skills and facilities to support and promote good nutrition and dietary health.”

Sarah Wren, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire Independent Living Service said: ”We are delighted to be part of this innovative integrated service, that will support so many people to enjoy healthier lives. As the County’s meals on wheels provider, we are committed to ensuring that older and vulnerable people are able to access the help they need to maintain, or regain, a healthy weight – whether they are living in a care home, or in the community. It is a privilege to be able to support dedicated care home staff to provide the best service possible for their residents. We have already come across some outstanding practice: from creative ideas for finger foods and milkshake bars, to getting loved ones to record audio reminders for people to stay hydrated. Our Nutrition Awareness team will be offering training and a bronze, silver, or gold accreditation to recognise those homes that are working with us to offer the best possible care to their residents.”

Meghna Mapara, Therapy Team Lead Dietetics, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “West Herts NHS Trust believes that the new service will provide seamless care between acute and community settings and joined up multidisciplinary working which will significantly improve our paediatric patients’ experience.”

Bariatrics Service Manager at the L&D, Bindu Jophy, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Nutrition & Dietetics Integrated Service for West Herts. We are able to provide a tier 3 obesity service for local patients, including a new outreach clinic based at Hemel Hempstead, with plans for other sites in West Herts. Our team is one of the largest in the UK, which consists of highly trained surgeons, anaesthetists, physicians, specialist nurses, dietitians and psychologists.”
“They work to deliver a first class medical service to our patients up to two years, tier 3 programme, offering nutritional support, dietetic advice, early appointments with physicians and psychological support.”
“We are also the specialist centre in the East of England for Bariatric surgery performing over 400 operations per year within the tier 4 service.”

Mark Hanna Director of Operations from Age UK Hertfordshire added: ”Age UK Hertfordshire has extensive experience working in partnership and recognises the value in a multi-agency approach, enabling each partner to add value, and utilise their own strengths and expertise for the betterment of the people we support. We are very excited about working with the Nutrition and Dietetics partnership. Together we can help to deliver a high quality service to the people who need our support, particularly where social malnutrition has been identified.