Nutrition and Dietetics

What We Are & what We do

The aim of the Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics is to provide high quality, safe and effective nutritional care for patients which is based on excellence in clinical nutrition, education and research and is grounded in kindness, compassion and respect. Patients are at the heart of everything we do.

All of our dietitians are registered with the Dietitians Registration Board of CORU and work to maintain the high standards of conduct, performance and ethics set out in the Dietitians Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics.

See www.coru.ie for more information or to search the Dietitians Register

In our department we work with a wide variety of patients, both adults and children including those with diabetes, kidney and liver disease, cancer, heart or gastro-intestinal disorders, as well as those preparing for and/or recovering from surgery.

We work in both the in-patient and out-patient settings of the hospital.

Dietitians work closely with members of the multi-disciplinary team including medical/surgical teams, nursing staff, speech and language therapists, specialist nurses, pharmacy and other health professionals involved in your care.

Patient Referrals
All patients referred must be currently under the care of one of the consultants here in Tallaght Hospital. If this does not apply to you, yet you need to see a Dietitian, you should ask your GP to refer you to the Community Dietetic service for the area in which you live.

What to expect when you see the Dietitian?
While you are in hospital, your nurse or doctor may refer you to a Dietitian.
What the Dietitian says to you will depend on your circumstances.
Before the dietitian can recommend a nutritional plan for you, he/she will complete a full nutritional assessment of your nutritional status.

What is a Nutritional Assessment?
Below are the following steps that will be followed to complete a nutritional assessment:

  1. Anthropometry – this is the measurement of the human body and will include checking some or all of the following:
    • Height
    • Weight -  you should be weighed on admission to hospital and  then daily if there are any concerns, otherwise weekly during your admission
    • Determine if there have any recent weight changes - either weight loss or weight gain
    • Determine if you are carrying extra fluid
    • Body mass index -  how healthy your weight is for your height
    • Waist circumference
    • Other measures such as grip strength to assess your bosy composition
  1. Biochemistry and haematology – to check blood results for your kidney and liver function, bone health, signs of infection and for any nutritional deficiencies or dehydration
  2. Clinical assessment – you may be asked about your bowel function, presence of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, swallowing difficulties or physical disability, temperature
  3. Dietary assessment – this will include obtaining information about the quality and quantity of your usual and current dietary intake and also the reasons for any changes in dietary habits. Some nutrients may be looked at in greater detail e.g. iron, calcium depending on the underlying illness.
  4. Extra factors that can have a significant impact on nutritional status such as financial difficulties, difficulties preparing food, social isolation, lack of knowledge, alcoholism or drug abuse, bereavement, age, medications
  5. Calculate your nutritional requirements for energy, protein, fluid and vitamins and minerals based on the above information and also your activity levels.  This will reduce the risks associated with over or underfeeding.

 A nutritional plan will be designed by the Dietitian based on the result of this assessment. This plan may include the addition of nutrient rich foods and drinks to your diet to help meet your requirements. Special “supplementary” nutritional drinks and/or vitamin and mineral supplements may also be recommended.

For patients who cannot eat and drink enough to meet their nutritional requirements, feeding via a tube (inserted into the stomach) or intravenously (into the veins) may be recommended by the Dietitian for a period of time.

Whilst under the care of the Dietitian your nutritional status will be monitored regularly and your plan modified accordingly.

If by the time of discharge you still require nutrition support, you will be given guidelines to follow at home. Arrangements will also be made for a follow up appointment with the Dietitian, either in the hospital Out-Patients Department or in the Community.

Outpatient Appointments
We provide a number of outpatient clinics for medical and surgical patients, adults and children.

Patients may receive their appointment by post or by phone. If you need to change an appointment, or cancel it, please follow the instructions in the appointment letter.

Our outpatient clinics are located in the Main Hospital, located on the Physiotherapy outpatient corridor and in the Diabetes Day Centre (DDC). Our clinics for children are located in the Children’s Out-Patients Department.

The location of your appointment will be provided on arrival at the hospital once you have checked in at the kiosks in the main reception.  

Research & Education

Education programmes for Health Care Professions

The department provides many education and training programme for nursing staff, doctors and other members of the multidisciplinary team in all aspects of nutrition. Both formal training, in the form of study days and courses, and informal training at journal club meetings and at ward based tutorials are provided. Nutrition programmes which include the practical aspect of managing patients on special diets are also provided for the staff in the Catering and Patient Food Services Department.

The Dietitians also participate in courses and study days run by the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI). See www.indi.ie

BSc. Human Nutrition & Dietetics Practice Training

The department provides clinical training/practice placements for students of the BSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics 4 year programme at Trinity College Dublin & Dublin Institute of Technology. Senior dietitians are assigned to the teaching, supervision and evaluation of the student’s practice to ensure that they are competent to practice by the end of their programme.

Work experience

All requests for work experience are processed through the Hospital Centre for Learning and Development, which runs an information programme for students who wish to learn about many different health professions. The Dietitians participate in this programme

For more information about this work experience see the following link

Centre for Learning and Development

For further information about how to become a dietitian have a look at the INDI website
https://www.indi.ie/what-is-a-dietitian/how-do-i-become-a-dietitian.html

Audit and Research

Active participation by the Dietetic staff in audit and research is encouraged and supported. As result, many staff members have published in peer reviewed journals and/or presented their nationally and internationally.

Current Research and Audit Activity

  • Audit of enteral tube feeding and parenteral nutrition support use and practices across the hospital
  • Research project on Malnutrition in cancer
  • Protected Mealtime Audit
  • Research on the levels of physical activity and its impact on glycaemic control in adults with Type 1 diabetes
  • Charting of Oral Nutritional Supplements Audit

Publications

Assessing appropriateness of parenteral nutrition usage in an acute hospital

Journal of Clinical Practice
N. Smyth, E Neary, S Power, S Feehan, S Duggan

Patients with chronic pancreatitis are at increased risk of osteoporosis.

Pancreas 2012
Duggan SN, O'Sullivan M, Feehan S, Hamilton S, Ridgway PF, Conlon KC.

A transatlantic survey of nutrition practice in acute pancreatitis

J Human Nutrition Dietetics 2012
Duggan SN, Smyth ND, O'Sullivan M, Feehan S, Ridgway PF, Conlon KC.

Nutrition treatment of deficiency and malnutrition in chronic pancreatitis: a review.
Nutrition in Clinical Practice 2010 Aug;25(4):362-70.
Duggan S, O'Sullivan M, Feehan S, Ridgway P, Conlon K.

Blind bedside insertion of small bowel feeding tubes.
Ir J Med Sci. 2009 May 9.
Sinead Duggan, Niamh Smyth, Suzanne Egan, Sinead Feehan, Kevin Conlon.

An assessment of the validity of enteral aspirate pH measurements made with commercial pH strips. e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 3, Issue 6, December 2008, Pages e303-e308
Sinead N. Duggan, Niamh D. Smyth, Suzanne M. Egan, Marie Roddy, Kevin C. Conlon.
Nutritional status of elderly trauma patients presenting to a South Dublin
Teaching Hospital
European Geriatric medicine (2010) 325-329
LN. Banks, N. Byrne, S. Henari, S. Morris, JP. McElwain

Nutrition For Medical Conditions

What is a Nutritional Assessment?


Before the dietitian can recommend a nutritional plan for you, he/she will complete a full nutritional assessment of your nutritional status. Below are the following steps that will be followed to complete a nutritional assessment:

1. Anthropometry – this is the measurement of the human body and will include checking some or all of the following:

a. Height
b. Weight - you should be weighed on admission to hospital and then daily if there are any concerns, otherwise weekly during your admission
c. Determine if there have been any recent weight changes – either weight loss or weight gain
d. Determine if you are carrying extra fluid
e. Body mass index – how healthy your weight is for your height
f. Waist circumference
g. Other measures such as grip strength to assess your body composition

2. Biochemistry and haematology – to check blood results for your kidney and liver function, bone health, signs of infection and for any nutritional deficiencies or dehydration

3. Clinical assessment – you may be asked about your bowel function, presence of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, swallowing difficulties or physical disability, temperature

4. Dietary assessment – this will include obtaining information about the quality and quantity of your usual and current dietary intake and also the reasons for any changes in dietary habits. Some nutrients may be looked at in greater detail e.g. iron, calcium depending on the underlying illness.

5. Extra factors that can have a significant impact on nutritional status such as financial difficulties, difficulties preparing food, social isolation, lack of knowledge, alcoholism or drug abuse, bereavement, age, medications

6. Calculate your nutritional requirements for energy, protein, fluid and vitamins and minerals based on the above information and also your activity levels. This will reduce the risks associated with over or underfeeding.

Malnutrition


Are you “frail”?
Have you lost weight unintentionally – do your clothes feel looser?
Have you had a loss of appetite or reduced your intake of food?
Do you have difficulties with feeding, eating, drinking or swallowing?
Have you been skipping or missing meals?
Do you have symptoms such as pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea or anxiety or depression that affect how much you eat?

Any of the above, can put you at risk of malnutrition.

Did you know that….

  • One in three patients admitted to Irish hospitals are at risk of malnutrition, with 75% of these considered to be at high risk
  • A quarter to a third of residents in Irish nursing homes are considered to be at risk of malnutrition
  • The highest risk of disease-related malnutrition was associated with gastrointestinal conditions (45% and 48% respectively), with significant risk being associated with respiratory disease (30% and 33% respectively).

In Ireland, it is considered that at any one time there are 140,000 adults at high to medium risk of disease-related malnutrition, of which over 50% are aged 65 or over. People aged 65 and over are five times more likely to be malnourished, compared to younger adults.

The annual cost of disease-related malnutrition to Ireland is estimated to be 1.4 billion euro per year, representing over 10% of the total annual health and social care budget.

What are the consequences of unrecognised or untreated malnutrition?

  • Depletion of body protein, energy stores, vitamins and minerals
  • Increased hospital length of stay
  • Increased hospital mortality
  • Increased complications: increased infections, delayed wound healing, increased surgical complications
  • Delayed rehabilitation and convalescence
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Increased GP visits
  • Increased readmissions to hospital
  • High social cost
  • Higher healthcare costs.

If you are experiencing any of the signs of malnutrition tell your doctor who will refer you to a Dietitian.

How a dietitian can help:
A dietitian will complete a full nutritional assessment - see section on ‘What is a Nutritional Assessment’ and will provide you with a nutritional care plan to either meet your needs orally, enterally or parenterally - see section on ‘Nutrition Support’. The dietitian will continue to monitor your nutritional status during your hospital stay and make changes to your plan as required.

When you go home
The dietitian will advise you on a suitable nutritional plan for home. You will be provided with additional resources, prescriptions or equipment as required. 

Neurology

A neurological condition can affect your diet and nutritional status in a number of ways: appetite may change, certain medications may cause stomach upset, bowel patterns may change, you may find it difficult to prepare or eat meals, or you may find you have swallowing difficulties. If you have a neurological condition you may be referred to the Dietitian as part of your care. It is likely you will first meet the Dietitian during your hospital stay, but sometimes you may be referred through another outpatient clinic.

  • How the Dietitian can help

The Dietitian will help by assessing your nutritional status – see section ‘What is a nutritional assessment’ and recommending a therapeutic diet to ensure you meet your nutritional needs, manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • During your hospital stay 

If you are worried about a poor appetite or weight loss, the Dietitian can tailor your diet to help you maintain or gain weight, and optimise protein intake to help maintain muscle mass. This may be done through food alone, or the Dietitian may recommend supplement drinks for extra nourishment or you may need additional support with nutrition through a feeding tube - see section ‘Nutrition Support’. You will need to be assessed by a Speech and Language Therapist if you have swallowing difficulties – see section ‘Swallowing Difficulties’.

  • When you go home

Special Diets: If you go home on a special diet or taking supplement drinks, the Dietitian may wish to follow-up with you in clinic, in which case you will receive an appointment by post. If you are taking supplement drinks you will be given a prescription when leaving the hospital.
Tube Feeding: If you are going home with a feeding tube, the Dietitian will create a plan specific to your nutritional needs and answer any of your questions around tube-feeding. She will help you to learn about your tube and about feeding so that you are confident going home.
Healthy Eating: Some neurological conditions are affected by carrying excess weight, in which case the Dietitian may advise you around healthy lifestyle and diet for weight loss – see section ‘Healthy Eating for Adults’. This is usually done as an outpatient. The Dietitian will send you an appointment by post, or you may be referred to a Dietitian in the community if appropriate.

  • Links / Useful resources

Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association: Eating and Drinking
(http://imnda.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Eating+and+Drinking.pdf)

Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute: Eating Well with Parkinson’s Disease (https://www.indi.ie/resources/fact-sheets/515-eating-well-with-parkinson-s-disease.html)

MS Ireland: Swallowing and Nutrition (http://www.ms-society.ie/pages/living-with-ms/carers-/providing-care/swallowing-and-nutrition?size=smaller)

Stroke

The role of diet and nutrition in stroke can be divided into three areas (see below).

How a Dietitian Can Help

1. Preventing Stroke
Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and being overweight, can increase the risk of developing stroke. As these are diet related, the dietitian will advise you to modify your diet to manage these conditions. You will also be given practical tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

2. Immediate period After stroke
A dietitian will help by assessing your nutritional status – see section ‘What is a nutritional assessment’ and recommend a therapeutic diet to ensure you meet your nutritional needs.
Weight change is common after a stroke, so your weight will be monitored regularly. Some people lose a lot of weight because of poor appetite, taste changes or low mood. The dietitian will advise you on how to make sure you have enough calories and protein in your diet to help you regain any weight lost - see section ‘Nutrition support’.
Swallowing problems are very common after a stroke and you may have to modify the texture of your diet – see section ‘Swallowing Difficulties’. Sometimes you may not be able to swallow safely. You may need to receive some or all of your nutrition through a feeding tube. Most people only need a feeding tube for a short time - see section ‘Nutrition Support’.

3. Rehab Post Stoke
A healthy balanced diet will help to prevent you from having another stroke.
It is essential to:

  • Be a healthy weight and avoid excess weight gain
  • Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods.
  • Avoid fried foods and choose lean cuts of meat. Use low-fat dairy products and spreads.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake aiming for 5 portions per day.
  • Increase your intake of oily fish to 2 portions per week. Examples include salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, kippers, pilchards and fresh tuna.
  • Drinking enough is important, aim for eight glasses of fluid per day (water, milk, juice, sugar free squash).
  • Avoid adding salt to your food and keep salt to a minimum in cooking.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Take regular exercise.

If you need more advice on your diet, ask your GP or hospital consultant to refer you to a Dietitian.

Links / Useful resources
www.irishheart.ie

Swallowing Difficulties

If you have swallowing difficulties you may have been advised by the Speech and Language Therapist to change the texture of the foods you eat e.g. soft diet, minced moist diet, smooth puree or liquidised diet. You may also have been advised to have your drinks thickened. A change in texture means a restriction in the range and type of food you can eat. This can lead to undesired weight loss.

How a dietitian can help:
A dietitian will help by assessing your nutritional status – see section ‘What is a nutritional assessment’ and recommending a therapeutic diet to ensure you meet your nutritional needs, manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • During your hospital stay

While you are in hospital the dietitian will ensure that you get the correct texture food and that you are meeting your nutritional needs. You may need additional nutrition support if you are not meeting your nutritional needs through food alone – see section ‘Nutrition Support’. The dietitian will also monitor your hydration status if you are on thickened fluids because you may struggle to drink enough thickened fluids to keep you hydrated.

  • When you go home

The dietitian will advise you on a suitable diet for home, appropriate to the recommendations of the Speech and Language Therapist. You will be provided with food lists and recipes and will also be advised how to fortify your food with extra calories and protein if required. If you require nutritional supplements on discharge you will be provided with a prescription.
If you are discharged home on a modified texture diet it would be recommended that you are reviewed by a dietitian to ensure you continue to meet your nutritional needs at home.

Links/ Useful resources

See Tallaght Speech and Language Therapy webpage….
http://swallowingdisorderfoundation.com/ - An American national, independent, not for profit organization

Gastroenterology/Hepatology

If you have a condition that affects your gut, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), coeliac disease, liver disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you could be at risk of malnutrition - see section ‘Malnutrition’. These conditions cause symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, or constipation which reduces your ability to eat. Your metabolism may also be affected so you need additional calories and protein to maintain wellbeing.

How a dietitian can help:
A dietitian will help by assessing your nutritional status – see section ‘What is a nutritional assessment’ and recommending a therapeutic diet to ensure you meet your nutritional needs, manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • During your hospital stay

The dietitian will discuss your individual symptoms and provide a nutritional care plan to suit your needs. You may not be able to eat enough to meet your nutritional requirements for energy, protein and vitamins/minerals and will be advised on ways to improve your intake – see section ‘Nutrition Support’. Throughout your hospital stay the Dietitian will monitor your nutritional status and ensure that you are receiving adequate and appropriate nutrition.

  • When you go home

The Dietitian will provide you and your family or carers with education on any specialised diet that you may require prior to going home.

Links/ Useful resources
www.coeliac.ie
www.iscc.ie
www.ibsnetwork.org
www.INDI.ie

Surgery

Anyone undergoing surgery or recovering from surgery is at risk of malnutrition due to a number of reasons, including fasting for surgeries / procedures, the underlying disease/problem and associated symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain / discomfort, constipation or diarrhoea – see section ‘Malnutrition’. The type of surgery you have may also impact on your ability to eat and / or ability to digest and absorb nutrients properly. These all lead to poor appetite, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.

How a Dietitian can help
A dietitian will help by assessing your nutritional status – see section ‘What is a nutritional assessment’ and recommend a therapeutic diet to ensure you meet your nutritional needs, manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • During your hospital stay

A Dietitian will assess your overall nutritional status including any symptoms you have that are impacting on your ability to eat. They will assess your dietary intake (focussing on your protein, energy, vitamin, mineral and fluid intake) to ensure that it is adequate and will provide you with a nutrition care plan to help you meet your goals. Throughout your hospital stay the Dietitian will monitor your nutritional status and ensure that you are receiving adequate and appropriate nutrition.
For a period of time before or after surgery, some patients may require nutrition support in the form of enteral tube feeding or parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding) – see section ‘Nutrition Support’. The Dietitian will devise a suitable feeding regimen, which will be based on an assessment of your nutritional needs.

When you go home
The Dietitian will provide you and your family/carers with detailed information on any special diet that you may require at home to support your recovery.
Certain patients may need to continue with tube feeding at home. If so, the Dietitian will organise the support and equipment required at home.

Links / Useful resources
http://www.stmarkshospital.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/patient-information-leaflets/

Nutrition Support

Nutrition support is defined as the provision of nutrients orally, enterally (via a tube inserted into your gut) or parenterally (directly into your veins) for the purpose of improving or maintaining a patient’s nutritional status.
We now know that the appropriate use of nutrition support: oral nutritional support, enteral tube feeding and parenteral nutrition can improve patient outcomes and reduce costs of malnutrition.
Nutrition support should be seen as an integral part of the optimal management of malnourished patients.
Read the information below about the three types of nutrition support that may be recommended for you if you are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

1. Oral nutritional support
This is used when the patient can swallow safely and the gut is functional. This can take the form of:

  • Assistance with eating
  • Dietary advise on appropriate food, fluids and snack choices
  • Food fortification to increase calories or protein in foods
  • Oral nutritional supplement (ONS) use.

A Simple Guide to the Use of Oral Nutritional Supplements

You may be advised by your dietitian to take an oral nutritional supplement if you have lost weight, have a poor appetite or are not able to eat enough food to keep you healthy.Oral nutritional supplements help you get more energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. There are many types and flavours of oral nutritional supplements available including:Milkshake or yoghurt-type supplementsPudding or dessert typeJuice-basedSavoury flavoured supplements that can be heated gently to make a nourishing soup (do not boil) Powders and liquids can be added to foods or drinks to make them more nourishing

These products are designed to complement your diet, not replace your meals and snacks (with the exception of where you may have been told to have a special liquid diet only). You should continue to keep eating as much of your regular meals as possible. You might find it best to take your oral nutritional supplements between mealtimes so that it does not affect your appetite for meals.Oral nutritional supplements should be stored in a cool dry place before opening. Most taste better chilled so it is useful to keep small amounts in the fridge. Some supplements can be warmed gently, particularly in the winter months. Some can be added to foods or frozen, and served as a dessert. Ask your dietitian for more information or recipe ideas. Check the ‘best before’ dates before opening. Once opened, they must be kept in the fridge and thrown away if not used within 24 hours. Your dietitian will decide how long you should take oral nutritional supplements for. In most cases you only need them while you are having difficulties with eating a normal diet or until you have reached a healthy weight.If you are not able to take your oral nutritional supplements for any reason, contact your dietitian as soon as possible. Oral nutrition support is discontinued when the person can demonstrate an adequate intake persistently from diet.

2. Enteral Tube feeding
Enteral tube feeding is defined as the administration of nutrients via a tube directly in the gut. In the hospital setting enteral feeding can be used to treat or prevent malnutrition. Enteral tube feeding is used for malnourished patients or those at risk, who have a functioning gut, but who cannot meet their needs with oral nutrition support alone, or where oral diet is considered unsafe.

You may be fed through a tube placed in your mouth (oro-gastric), nose (NG or NJ) or directly into your stomach (PEG or RIG) or small bowel (PEJ or RIJ).
Enteral tube feeding may be needed in the short-term as an inpatient or in the longer term at home and this will be fully discussed with you by your dietitian and team.

3. Parenteral Feeding / Intravenous Feeding
Parenteral or intravenous nutrition is reserved for those who have an inadequate or non-functioning gut, where the gut is inaccessible, or when tube feeding is unsafe or unlikely to be effective.
Increasing numbers of patients need to continue these therapies at home - see section ‘Home Parenteral Nutrition’

Home Parenteral Nutrition

When your gut is not working effectively, you may not absorb nutrition from the food you eat. In this situation, intravenous or parenteral nutrition (PN) may be required to provide your full nutritional requirements. This form of nutritional therapy can be continued in your own home once you are medically fit for discharge.

How a dietitian can help:

A dietitian will assess your nutritional status - see section ‘What is a Nutritional Assessment’ and recommend the most appropriate route of nutrition given your medical condition and surgical history.

  • During your hospital stay

While you are in hospital the dietitian will explain what is involved in PN. If you are happy to proceed, he/she will liaise with your medical team regarding IV access. The dietitian will then prescribe the right amount of PN to meet your macro and micronutrient requirements. This will be monitored daily and adjusted as needed. When you are stable on PN, the dietitian will arrange for the PN provider to train you on self-administering PN. The dietitian will also apply to the HSE for funding to facilitate the continuation of PN at home.

  • When you going home

The dietitian will review your progress on a regular basis in outpatient clinic and/or by phone as needed. He/she will monitor your nutritional status for the duration of the PN, and alter your PN prescription as required.

Links/ Useful resources
www.pinnt.com

Cystic Fibrosis

Eating well and maintaining a good nutritional status is very important in the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF). There is evidence that improving and maintaining a good nutritional status has a positive impact on lung function in CF and overall wellbeing. Many children with CF need a diet that is high in both calories and protein, and may need to take digestive enzymes with meals and snacks to prevent malabsorption. All children with CF should see a dietitian for individualised nutrition assessment, and advice and support tailored to his or her specific needs.

How a dietitian can help:
A dietitian will help by assessing your nutritional status – see section ‘What is a nutritional assessment’ and will recommend a therapeutic diet to ensure you meet your nutritional needs and manage your symptoms.

  • During your hospital stay

The dietitian will discuss your individual symptoms and provide a nutritional care plan to suit your needs. You may not be able to eat enough to meet your nutritional requirements for energy, protein and vitamins/minerals and will be advised on ways to improve your intake – see section ‘Nutrition Support’. Throughout your hospital stay the Dietitian will monitor your nutritional status and ensure that you are receiving adequate and appropriate nutrition.

  • When you going home

The dietitian will advise you on a suitable diet for home appropriate to your child’s individual needs. You will be provided with written information which may include a meal plan and information on how to fortify your child’s food with extra calories and protein. If your child requires nutritional supplements on discharge you will be provided with a prescription. You will also be given a contact number for the dietitian for any questions you may have and a follow up appointment for your child.

Links/ Useful Resources

https://www.cfireland.ie/

Slow weight gain

Some babies and children lose weight or gain weight slowly because they have a poor appetite, or because they have high energy needs due to an illness. Depending on the degree of weight loss or duration of poor weight gain, this can impact negatively on a child’s growth and development. All children with poor growth should see a dietitian for individualised nutrition assessment and tailored nutrition advice.

How a dietitian can help:
For babies with slow weight gain, a dietitian will help by assessing his/her feeding pattern, breastfeeding technique where relevant, and any feeding difficulties experienced and will offer advice and support to help achieve optimal weight gain.
For children with weight loss or slow weight gain, a dietitian will determine the short-fall in your child’s energy (+/- other nutrients) intake and will advise on dietary changes and/or supplements if necessary to ensure that your child gets all the energy, protein, vitamins and minerals that he/she requires to achieve optimal growth and weight gain.

  • During your hospital stay

While your baby or child is in hospital the dietitian will monitor his/her weight and dietary intake closely and will advise on dietary changes and/or nutritional supplements if required.

  • When you going home

The dietitian will advise you on a suitable diet for home appropriate to your child’s individual needs. You will be provided with written information which may include a meal plan and information on how to fortify your child’s food with extra calories and protein. If your child requires nutritional supplements on discharge you will be provided with a prescription. You will also be given a contact number for the dietitian for any questions you may have and a follow up outpatient appointment for your child.

Nutrition For Good Health

Weight Management


Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health. Being overweight can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Diet is the cornerstone of effective weight management. Eating the right balance of foods in combination with being physically active is essential to weight management and overall good health. A healthy weight helps to prevent the development of many chronic diseases and makes it easier to go about our daily lives.


Useful resources

Check out the following websites for further information on diet and weight management;

  • https://www.indi.ie/healthy-eating,-healthy-weight-and-dieting.html
  • www.weigh2live.safefood.eu
  • www.safefood.eu
  • www.healthpromotion.ie

There are weight management and healthy eating courses available in the community:

  • PHEW ‘Programme for healthy eating and weight management’

Visit http://www.hse.ie/phew/ for more information

  • ‘Healthy food made easy’ 

Visit www.sdcpartnership.ie for more information

How a dietitian can help:
Dietitians are skilled in providing evidence based advice to help you to make healthy food choices to ensure you are getting the right balance of nutrients to meet your daily nutritional needs. A dietitian will help by working with you to identify realistic and attainable goals to help you to sustain a healthier lifestyle for weight management. If you need to see a Dietitian for a consultation ask your GP to refer you to the community dietitian in the area which you live.
For Dietitians in private practice see the INDI website
https://www.indi.ie/find-a-dietitian.html

Healthy Eating


Healthy eating is about having a varied, balanced diet and enjoying lots of different foods.
Getting started:

  • Have 3 main meals daily and avoid skipping meals
  • Eat a wide variety of foods
  • Eat 5 + fruit and vegetables a day
  • Choose brown/wholemeal bread and cereals instead of white 
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks 
  • Drink adequate fluids (~8gls/day) 

Links/ Useful resources
Check out the following websites for further information on healthy eating;

https://www.indi.ie/fact-sheets.html

http://www.safefood.eu/Healthy-Eating.aspx

http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/hl/change/eat/

http://healthyfoodforall.com/

http://southsidepartnership.ie/other_programmes.php?id=152

How a dietitian can help:
Sustainable weight loss and healthy eating advice programmes are more commonly conducted within the community setting. A dietitian will help by exploring your current dietary habits and collaborate on commencing alterations to dietary habits that are sustainable, realistic and achievable. If you need to see a Dietitian for a consultation ask your GP to refer you to the community dietitian in the area which you live.
For Dietitians in private practice see the INDI website
https://www.indi.ie/find-a-dietitian.html

Healthy Eating for Young Children


Good eating habits start from a young age. Healthy eating is about having a varied, balanced diet and enjoying lots of different foods.
Getting started:

  • Have 3 main meals daily and avoid skipping meals
  • Avoid fizzy and sugary drinks or drinking too much fruit juice
  • Keep treats to once/twice per week, agree on ‘treat days’ and stick to these
  • Aim to include 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Links and Resources for more information:
  • https://www.indi.ie/childrens-health.html?start=10
  • https://www.healthpromotion.ie/hp-files/docs/HPM00383.pdf
  • https://www.healthpromotion.ie/hp-files/docs/HPM00796.pdf

If you have concerns about your child’s diet and/or weight and your child is attending a consultant in the hospital, your consultant may recommend a dietitian referral.

How a dietitian can help:
A dietitian will help by assessing your child’s weight, height and body mass index on the appropriate growth chart for your child’s age. She will assess your child’s current eating habits and provide advice on healthy eating. Individualised goals will be made to ensure that your child can make appropriate changes to his/her eating habits.

  • During your hospital stay:

If there is a concern about your child’s eating habits when your child is an inpatient in the hospital the dietitian will see you to advise on age appropriate healthy eating.

  • After your hospital stay:

If your child is followed up by the consultant in the hospital you may be offered an appointment with the dietitian in the outpatient department. Alternatively your child may be referred to the community nutrition and dietetic service for further input.