About our Department
The aim of the Department of Clinical Nutrition & 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.
All patients referred must be currently under the care of one of the consultants here in TUH. 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:
- 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 been 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 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.
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.
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).
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.