What we do
We work with patients in our hospitals as well as in the community, and across all age groups, to improve diet and nutrition.
Your nutritional health (and risk of malnutrition) will be assessed when you come in to hospital. If there are any concerns, you'll be referred to a dietitian from our team who will come to see you and assess your needs. We can offer help such as advice on food and drinks to take (or avoid) and support with developing a new diet. We may also need to give you some more tests.
If you're unable to eat solid food, we can organise for you to have a very soft diet or to be fed through a tube to make sure you get the nutrients and vitamins that you need.
We'll usually treat you as part of a team which may include a speech and language therapist, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and a specialist nurse.
We help to design the food menus for patients and staff in our hospitals, working with catering staff to make sure meals are nutritious, meet government guidelines and, most importantly, are appetising to eat. We help to decide which foods can be offered to people with special dietary requirements, such as for diabetes or those needing extra nutrition after surgery.
In the community
Our dietitians hold regular clinics around Southampton for patients who have been referred by their GP. We help on topics such as feeding problems in children, nutrition in pregnancy, diabetes or obesity.
We also run group sessions, often jointly with other members of the wider therapy team such as speech and language therapists or physiotherapists. These sessions help people to learn more about managing their condition on a day-to-day basis and to share practical ideas about their diet and its challenges.
You may be given a food diary to fill in for the few days leading up to your appointment, to help us to tailor our advice and suggestions for improving your diet to you.
Research and training
Our team is also involved in:
- training and educating medical, nursing and dietetic students
- running courses for health professionals, voluntary groups and private organisations on topics such as child feeding, eating on a low income and special diets (these may involve a fee)
- developing resources to support general dietary education and specific advice
- research, development and auditing of nutrition related policies and guidance.