Date of release: 29 June 2023
Spotlight on Our Dietetics Team
By Dr Ros Leslie
At the beginning of this month we celebrated Dietitians Week which was a great opportunity to showcase the value that dietitians bring to the organisation.
You may have seen some of the posts on social media, demonstrating the wonderful cultural diversity within the Dietetics Team which enriches its work.
Below, I have shared some examples of how the team contributes to staff wellbeing, patient care and education.
Over the last six months, a member of the team has been conducting an organisational nutrition and hydration needs assessment to better understand the barriers and enablers to eating and drinking in the workplace.
Thank you to those staff who contributed to this piece of work – the report and its recommendations is nearing completion, so watch this space for further details!
In 2020 The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) invested in dietetics service provision to intensive care to comply with recommended staffing levels.
A recent audit has demonstrated the huge benefit this has had to patients in ensuring they are well nourished, with a greater percentage of their energy and protein targets being met.
The service continues to move forward to reduce the periods of interruptions to feeding on Critical Care, ensuring patients’ nutritional needs are met.
Following Nutrition and Hydration Week in March, the team has worked with the Nursing Quality Team to improve nutrition screening of inpatients at RWT.
This has included training for Nurse Practice Education Facilitators (PEFs) on the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) reporting to enable Ward Managers to get an accurate picture of screening performance on their wards.
Eat, Drink, Dress and Move to Improve (EDDMI) has been a successful collaborative work stream including Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Dietetics.
Improvements in nutritional care to emerge from this initiative include the introduction of a meal box for patients who leave a ward for urgent treatment/investigations at mealtimes, a review of between-meal snacks and the re-introduction of milkshakes to promote ‘food-first’ as the approach to nutrition.
Dietitians have been working through the updated NHS Standards for Healthcare Food and Drink with the Catering and Nursing Quality Teams, developing a joint action plan for RWT and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
The plan will be strengthened following the launch of the British Dietetic Association’s updated Nutrition and Hydration Digest, with a greater focus on sustainability and also on meeting the protein requirements for our nutritionally vulnerable patients.
Furthermore, it is really encouraging to see the requirement for a specialist food service dietitian is now included in the NHS contract, demonstrating commitment to ensuring hospital inpatients are provided with food and drink to meet their clinical, cultural and religious needs.