Nutrition and Dietetics
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital dietitians offer practical help and advice on how to improve the calorie and nutritional intake for individual patients.
The role of nutrition in the treatment of heart and lung disease is constantly changing and the department ensures that advice provided reflects the most recent authoritative research and published policies.
Dietitians are qualified health professionals who assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
Dietitians may work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, non-government organisations and national and local government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government to local communities and individuals.
They are required to have an undergraduate degree (BSc Hons) in Nutrition & Dietetics or Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or Masters (MSc) in Dietetics.
Dietitians are statutorily regulated, with a protected title and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Therefore the title dietitian can only be used by those appropriately trained professionals who have registered with the Health Care Professions Council and whose details are on the HCPC website
The dietitan is involved in cardiac rehabilitation for groups of people and provide diet and lifestyle guidance for individuals at risk of, or with existing heart disease. They will also ensure nutritional management of patients with cardiac failure and cachexia is appropriate and provides practical advice on ways to improve nutrition
The Critical Care Dietitian collaborates with the multi-disciplinary Critical Care Team to promote optimal nutrition of the critically ill patient. The dietitian will advise on appropriate methods of feeding a patient while on intensive care.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
For people with CF, a suitable diet is vital. A healthy, well-nourished body can deal more effectively with chest infections or weight loss caused by illness. It is essential that energy and protein intake is high. Adults with CF have higher energy needs, especially those who have frequent chest infections or are losing a lot of fat in their stools. Protein intake should be as much as twice the regular recommended adult amount. There has to be a balance between sugary or fatty, energy rich foods and foods that contain protein, vitamins and minerals. The dietitian can offer practical help and advice on how to improve the calorie and nutritional intake for individual patients and advice on use of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy.
Heart and Thoracic Surgery
Patients who undergo major surgery can be at risk of malnutrition. The dietitian can offer practical help and advice on how to improve the calorie and nutritional intake for individual patients.
Patients with cancer may become malnourished as a result of poor appetite, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or increased nutrient needs. This may be caused by the effects of the cancer itself or side effects of the treatment (chemotherpay, radiotherapy, surgery).
Patients with respiratory problems can be at risk of malnutrition. for individual Dietitans provide input into the pulmonary (lung) rehabilitation programme.
When patients come into hospital, they are nutritionally screened within 24 hours of admission by nursing staff using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (‘MUST’). Patients who are at high risk of malnutrition are referred to the Dietitian.
Based on each patients ‘MUST’ score, an individualized care plan is made, incorporating likes and dislikes, assisting patients to choose the right meals for their condition and appetite and encouraging nourishing foods and drinks.
When a referral is received a Dietitian will undertake a nutritional assessment and may make a number of recommendations to improve a patient’s nutritional intake and in some circumstances prescribe nutritional supplements.
In addition to those patients who are at high risk of malnutrition, a patient would be referred to the Dietitian for other medical or surgical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease and cystic fibrosis (see conditions below that are seen on LHCH).
Some patients who are unable to swallow safely and therefore unable to eat and drink will require tube feeding. The Dietitian will provide a tailored regime to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Dietitians work with a range of healthcare professionals on the wards as part of the multidisciplinary team to provide dietary advice and nutritional education.
Please let nursing staff know if you have any of the following:
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Taking nutritional supplements (prescribed by your GP)
- Have a tube feed
- On a special diet eg gluten free, milk free
- Have uncontrolled diabetes
If you have any questions about the hospital food please ask to speak with catering staff.
How do I get to see a Dietitian?
If you need specific dietary advice then you can be referred to our department by your healthcare professional e.g Doctor, Nurse, Speech & Language Therapist.
What should I expect when I see a Dietitian?
The Dietitian will provide a professional, non-judgmental consultation regarding your diet. They will assess your current diet, your weight and height and make practical recommendations to you about your diet in order to improve your health.
What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
Dietetics is the interpretation and communication of the science of nutrition to enable people to make informed and practical choices about food and lifestyle, in both health and disease. A dietitian will have trained in both hospital and community settings as part of their course. Most dietitians are employed in the NHS, but dietitians also work in the food industry, education, research and on a freelance basis. It is necessary to have a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) recognised degree in nutrition and dietetics to work as a dietitian and to be registered with the HCPC if working as a dietitian. The title dietitian is protected by law, anyone using the title must be registered with the HCPC.
Nutrition is the study of nutrients in food, how nutrients are used by the body, and the relationship between diet, health and disease. Most of the major food manufacturers and retailers employ nutritionists and food scientists but opportunities also arise in journalism, research and education. There are a variety of careers within the field of food science and technology. Many nutritionists hold a nutrition degree and are on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists, but this is not a mandatory register.
For more information please click www.bda.uk.com/publications/public/dietitian_nutritionist
How do I become a Dietitian?
To qualify as a dietitian you are required to undertake an approved programme at a university. All dietetic programmes are approved by the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) and may also apply for accreditation by The British Dietetic Association (BDA). Accreditation is a robust process providing assurance to the profession, students and the public that universities meet the standards of the professional body, the BDA.
For more information please visit the BDA website.
Manager : Beverly Sheaf
Direct number 0151 282 6473 –answer machine available
Monday 8.30am to 4.30pm
Tuesday 8.30am to 4.30pm
Wednesday 8.30am to 4.30pm
Thursday 8.30am to 4.30pm
Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm
Bank Holidays Closed