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Aims and objectives

Nutrition and dietetics

What we do

Dietitians

Dietitians are qualified to translate the science of nutrition in health and disease into practical information about food.

We work as members of a multidisciplinary team to look after patients who are under the care of a consultant. We visit patients receiving hospital care (or their carers) to check on their health and ensure their diet meets their requirements. We can also be involved in treating disease by diet, for example people who have diabetes or coeliac disease.

We work to promote good health by teaching the public and other health professionals about diet and nutrition and act as advisors to the Trust on the nutritional standards and specifications for the patient food service to ensure that the needs of all patients can be met.

We provide

Nutritional support

This means feeding patients who are unable to feed themselves or have increased nutritional requirements. Examples of this type of patient include patients who have had a stroke, or a patient who is very weak following an operation at the hospital. If we ensure a patient is fed properly, it can improve recovery rates, reduce the chance of further difficulties and reduce the time the patient needs to stay in hospital.

Therapeutic diets

Patients receive medical or surgical help with their conditions, but some have conditions that can also benefit from special diets. Eating more of certain foods, and/or avoiding certain things can help to control a patient’s symptoms. In some cases, by carefully monitoring what a sick patient eats and drinks, the dietitian can reduce the chance that patient will have problems in the long-term, and can establish and/or help maintain the patient’s quality of life.

Advice to the Trust on nutritional issues

Members of the department work with Trust staff on the following groups and committees: nutrition steering committee and corporate nutrition standards. We work very closely with estates and facilities on the development and improvements to patient catering. We are involved in the contracts for patient food services and are members of the contract review group. Our department writes the nutritional specifications for patient food and artificial feeds and supplements that are used in the hospital.

Education

The department has a substantial commitment to educating other health professionals through English National Board (ENB) courses and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ). The Dietitians’ Board of the Health Professions Council (HPC) has approved the department as a base trainer for student dietitians.

Our philosophy

The philosophy of the department of nutrition and dietetics is to establish and encourage good nutritional practice and standards as an integral part of the health care provided to the population served by Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The service aims to:

  • Provide high-quality dietetic services to help to fulfil Addenbrooke’s role as a provider of comprehensive health services to the residents of Cambridge and the surrounding area.
  • Increase specialist work and develop specialist dietetic teams within the department.
  • Improve the links between these specialist teams and other dietitians in the region.
  • Ensure quality is amongst the best, and adopt an approach to constant quality improvement.
  • Employ high-calibre staff and invest in their education and training.
  • Use evidence-based practice to develop effective therapies and new treatments.
  • Work to the highest professional standards.
  • Work with others to ensure nutrition is included as a priority in patient care.

Non-urgent advice: Registration

Registration means that the health professional meets the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards for their education, training, performance and conduct, professional status, health and behaviour.

Each of the dietitians employed by Addenbrooke’s holds a degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification in Nutrition and is registered to practice with the National Health Service (NHS).

The word dietitian is a protected title, and it is now illegal for anyone to call himself or herself a dietitian unless they are registered with the HPC. State Registration can be verified by looking on the website of the Health and Care Professions Council

Registered dietitians are committed to maintaining their competence and expertise through both continuing education and active involvement in a range of professional activities.