“Hello, my name is Jessie and I am an oncology dietitian.
With our expertise of nutrition and health, the dietetics team was on hand to ensure nutrition support was provided to COVID-19 patients who needed it: from those with severe respiratory distress and required sedation and artificial feeding through a feeding tube, to those isolating in the community requiring help with taste changes and fatigue that impacted on the nutrition status. A dietitian’s role is to assess and tailor care plans to individual patients we see, as no one patient has the same nutritional requirements. By monitoring the weight and nutritional intake of our patients we can review and adapt our plans accordingly.
Many of us were trained up to help cover ITU during the anticipated COVID-19 boom. Not many people know that most severe COVID-19 sufferers are intermittently put on their front in ‘prone position’ to support the flow of oxygen; naturally this increased risk of tolerance issues when tube feeding patients – imagine eating a meal whilst laid out on your tummy! So we adapted our approach using new national guidance put together swiftly by ITU specialist dietitians across the country. Although we were anxious about the virus, we were confident that we could follow up-to-date research and apply it to our COVID-19 patients.
As a department we adapted our working to remotely where possible to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19. However, where face to face interactions were required, we ensured we were fully donned in PPE. Although these have been scary and worrying times, I feel proud to have been able to ‘do my bit’, and learning about feeding patients on ITU has been a valuable experience and one I’m certainly never going to forget.”