Nutrition and dietetics
Good nutrition is vital for general health and wellbeing but is even more important when you are unwell. Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the experts in how nutrition can influence our health.
We help translate the latest scientific evidence to support and educate people. We offer impartial advice about nutrition and food related problems. We can also show you how nutrition is used to help to treat and prevent ill health.
More on what we do
Dietitians are educated to degree standard and are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Th organisation regularly audits members to make sure they provide appropriate evidenced-based advice. You can check if your dietitian is registered at www.hcpc-uk.org.
Depending on your health concerns, your consultant, GP or other healthcare professional might suggest that you are referred to a dietitian. Dietitians have many important roles in healthcare. They work closely with other specialties to provide holistic care to patients (both adults and children), dealing with illnesses such as, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis , gastrointestinal illnesses, cancer, eating disorders, diabetes and obesity.
(Note: Dietitians are different from nutritionists. Nutritionists might not be regulated by a governing body, so the information given does not have to comply with scientifically-based evidence.)
Dietitians provide a range of treatments, depending on your condition.
Examples of treatments include:
- Nutrition support - to help support appetite and food intake.
- Artificial nutrition - to provide forms of nutrition when a patient is unable to take food orally.
- Dietary manipulation - to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and coeliac disease.
The Dietetics department is made up of 29 dietitians, 2 dietetic support workers and a diet and exercise assistant practitioner. The team is split into several specialist teams:
The acute team
We provide input to all the main adult wards in the hospital and covers areas such as gastroenterology, surgery, intensive care, health for older people, cardiology, orthopaedics, neurology, oncology, haematology, maternity and intestinal failure.
The team run general and specialist outpatient clinics. Patients are referred by the hospital consultants for advice on nutrition support, weight loss, specialist therapeutic advice for certain conditions such as IBS, crohns disease, coeliac disease, liver disease and IBS.
The oncology team
We can support you to eat and drink well if you have a diagnosis of cancer. Good nutrition can help your treatment and quality of life. Your oncology dietitian will work with you, the oncology team and community teams. They can assess what nutrition advice you need at each stage of your care and you can be seen as an inpatient or an outpatient. This might include making the most of what you are eating, supporting you with your weight and strength, or using artificial nutrition support if required. At the RD&E we have specialist dietitians working within the head and neck, upper GI, living with and beyond cancer and enhanced supportive care teams.
The renal team
This team is made up of specialist renal dietitians and a renal diet and exercise assistant practitioner. We work as an integral part of the hospital's renal team, supporting patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). We also help dialysis and transplant patients, both inpatients and outpatients. Patients with CKD are at increased risk of becoming malnourished for various reasons and often need to restrict many elements in their diet including salt, potassium and fluid. The renal dietitians cover the haemodialysis satellite units in Heavitree (Exeter), Torbay, Honiton, Barnstaple and Taunton providing advice and support to patients receiving dialysis in these units.
The paediatric team
We work with children from 0-18 years of age. We work closely with health professionals within the hospital but also other members of the wider health care community. These include community consultant paediatricians, GPs, health visitors, specialist nurses and child and adolescent mental health teams. We see children with a wide variety of different conditions. We provide advice to help manage their conditions through dietary changes. Examples of the types of conditions we might advise on include:
- Food Allergies
- Childhood Cancers
- Cardiac conditions
- Coeliac disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Developmental delay
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Eating disorders
- Faltering growth
- Healthy lifestyle
- Tube feeding at home
- Restrictive diets /Autism
The community team
The community team includes specialist dietitians and a dietetic support worker. The team covers community hospital inpatients in Exmouth, Sidmouth and Tiverton plus supporting stroke rehabilitation patients. We offer outpatient clinics in different localities in the community for patients referred for dietary advice by GPs as well as visiting enterally fed patients in their own homes.
The cystic fibrosis (CF) Team
Food and nutrition play a vital part in the on-going management of cystic fibrosis. The specialist CF dietitians support children, young people and adults. We also help individuals and families to make the most appropriate lifestyle and food choices to suit their needs. For more information please see the cystic fibrosis pages.
Where to find us
RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW
Dietetic Department, Area J.
Our admin team can be contacted on 01392 402044. They will be able to direct you to the correct team.
Each of the above specialist teams carry individual bleeps/mobile phones and can be contacted via the main hospital switch board (01392 411611) or via the main dietetic department.
The community dietetic team can be contacted on 01392 402576.
Patient leaflets and documents
Our community team provides dietetic assessment and advice to patients with a wide variety of conditions.
Information for healthcare professionals
For specialist areas, out patient referrals are made via the Consultants and specialist nurses. For paediatric and community referrals, GP’s can refer via the e-referral system.