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Jodie Tyers

Jodie Tyers is a dietetic healthcare assistant who works in the community.

I had previously worked for the Reablement Team and enjoyed the contact with elderly patients and the difference we could make to how well they could manage at home. I saw my current role being advertised and thought that this would fit in well with family life and I would not have to work evenings!

In my role, I see patients who have been referred to Nutrition and Dietetics for Nutrition support advice. This is for weight loss due to ill health, hospital admission, depression, reduced appetite, pressure ulcers etc. We offer advice on how to gain weight and skin healing. We monitor dietary intake, skin healing, BMI and weight. We also calculate the patient’s nutritional requirements and work out their calorie intake from their current diet recall and how to add in extra calories either with food swaps, enriching, homemade supplements or prescribed supplements.

We follow a food first approach and will then consider prescribed supplements if appropriate. Calorie contents of food, drinks and prescribed supplements are all taken into consideration when offering advice to patients and their families who often are the main carers. We complete home visits (as able with the pandemic) as well as telephone reviews. If we notice any self-neglect or abuse Datix’s are completed and followed up. If our advice is followed patients usually gain weight and their risk of malnutrition reduces, which also reduces the risk of falls, osteoporosis, ability to fight infections etc. We also offer advice on dysphagia and refer to SALT and they will also refer to us if a patient has lost weight due to poor oral intake. We see patients in their own homes and care home residents.

Training and development has helped a great deal, we have education meetings where we learn about different aspects of Nutrition and Dietetics e.g diabetes, Home Enteral Feeding, Gastro. For example, they teach us about the importance of fibre in the diet and how to calculate fibre intake and the fibre contents of foods. We also had a clinical supervision, where we can discuss ‘tricky’ patients or care home issues or what to do next with patients if we need further support. Our manager supports any extra training and actively encourages us to complete any that we are interested in.

In terms of what makes me proud, its being able to help people to remain independent and to support families if the patient has reached the end of their life or has a diagnosis of dementia and is declining. I also enjoy seeing people improve their health and also how much better they feel in themselves after gaining weight or their skin healing. It is a rewarding role and career progression is actively encouraged.

During the pandemic we have had to deal with many Covid patients, the dietitians researched how changes in taste and smell can affect oral intake and how to help the person to recover from covid symptoms and as their taste returned dealing with reports of meat tasting ‘off’ or the textures of foods making them feel ill, swallowing issues following intubation etc. The dietitians within our team were amazing at keeping us informed of any information that would help us to support these patients. I think a lot of the praise went to hospital staff (rightly so, they were amazing!!) but once the patients were discharged it was up to community teams to pick up and continue the treatment and recovery of these patients, which we should be shouting about a little more.