Dietitians are professionals who work towards promoting health through appropriate nutrition. Thus educating and counseling individuals on healthy nutritional habits remains the mainstay of their work. The dietician in fact translates the science of nutrition into practical information about food which people can comprehend.
Appropriate nutrition therapy is crucial for successful medical treatment. This is the reason dieticians are considered valuable members of the medical team. It may come as a surprise to many that malnutrition or poor nutrition continues to be prevalent in patients even today. By improving the nutritional status of the patient many benefits are achieved e.g.
- Reduces the length of stay in the hospital.
- Reduces cost of treatment.
- Reduces complications.
Improves the outcome of surgery/illness. The dietician visits every patient in the ward, assesses the patient for his/her nutritional status and then prescribes the diet based on the biochemical/ clinical findings. An individualized nutritional plan is chartered out for each individual patient in either of these methods
- Enhancing the diet itself.
- Prescription of a supplementary product in addition to the diet.
- Adding specific nutrients in the form of capsules/powders ( proteins/ vitamins/minerals etc)
- Enteral feeds (feeding through a tube)
Parenteral nutrition ( nutrition through the veins) The various specialties at PSRI, involve the services of a nutritionist in the treatment plan of the patient. The services provided by the Dietetics department are enlisted below:
Gastroenterology: Almost all the conditions treated under this specialty require dietary interventions. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease are some conditions where the diet is modified to reduce symptoms and for a speedy recovery. Celiac Disease, responds only to dietary intervention. Recovery is dependent on how well the diet prescribed by the dietician is followed. Those suffering from Mal-absorption syndromes benefit from dietary modifications.
Hepatalogy: Acute viral hepatitis (commonly referred to as Jaundice) and chronic diseases of the liver (e.g. cirrhosis of the liver) require dietary modifications. In the treatment of diseases of the pancreas and the gall bladder, modifying the diet is an integral part of treatment.
Nephrology: In the commonly seen diseases of the kidney such as renal failure and Nephrotic Syndrome, changing the protein and in the electrolyte content in the diet becomes mandatory. Supplementary nutrition is usually required for patients on dialysis, of both kinds- hemodialysis or peritoneal. PSRI being a centre for renal transplants, the diets of such patients need to be assessed and monitored regularly.
Diabetes: Diabetes management cannot take place independent of dietary management. The dietician plans the diet and integrates it with an exercise program or yogasanas.
Surgery: The success of the surgery can be attributed to the nutritional status besides the other factors. A person with a poor nutritional status will have poor and delayed healing of the surgical wounds. Many times surgery has to be postponed and the nutritional status has to be built before taking up the patient for surgery.
Pediatrics: Parents of infants/children require constant guidance and counseling so that children achieve their ideal growth and development. Whether the child is suffering from a common problem like a common cold or diarrhoea or from a complex case of pancreatitis, dietary changes can promote faster recovery.
Weight management: is another important issue which can be dealt appropriately by a qualified Dietician. There are Weight loss clinics galore but it is important to follow appropriate diet modifications in order to lose weight. Any quick fix approach is an absolute ‘no no’. If this kind of drastic approach is followed you will be losing valuable muscle mass and fluids rather than the fat stores. It is evident that there is a role for appropriate nutrition in maintaining wellness as well as in the treatment of disease conditions.
The following members comprise of the Dietetics team at PSRI.
- Ms. Neelanjana Singh- Sr. Consultant Dietetics, M.Sc Foods and Nutrition, PG Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition.
- Ms. Debjani Banerjee, Incharge, Dietetics. M.Sc Food & Nutrition, Diploma in Dietetics & Food Service Management.