Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems. They use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance.
The Paediatric Dietitians see children with a range of conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, food allergies, faltering growth and eating disorders. In each of these conditions, optimising nutritional intake is vital to maintain or improve health, in conjunction with any medical treatment.
Dietitians will often work closely with other teams such as Specialist Nurses, Speech and Language therapists, Specialist Practitioners in Child Development and CAMHS, to ensure a holistic approach is taken.
Sometimes a child will not be able to meet all their nutritional needs by themselves and require supportive feeding with the aid of a feeding tube. The specialist tube feeding dietitians work particularly closely with a variety of health care professionals including speech and language therapist, who help to assess swallowing.
Our aim is to ensure the child is getting the correct amount of nutrients from specialist nutritional products for either growth or to just keep them comfortable during palliative care.
The team is also involved in helping children with food allergy and gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohns or Coeliac disease and diabetes.
Paediatric Dietitian, Rita Howell, said: “Eating is an important basic part of everyday life and every parent will want to feed their child and watch them grow and develop. Many factors can affect that process and it can be a very emotional time for families if feeding is challenging.”
Families of children that use the service are often grateful the team has time to listen to their concerns. Amanda Gill said: “Part of our training includes effective listening, communication and motivational skills. It’s a great feeling for us too, when parents of caregivers tell us they feel listened to and supported.”
The team are always open to working with other teams, so if you think they may be able to help or advise your service, please get in touch.
PICTURE CAPTION: Amy Roberts, Rita Howell, Caroline McNicholas and Amanda Gill