There is no love sincerer than the love of food. – George Bernard Shaw
Nutrition – food or nourishment – plays a vital role in treating and managing a range of medical conditions, supporting patients through illness and improving patients’ well-being. Many patients with life-limiting conditions have symptoms that can be helped through dietary change.
At Dorothy House, all of our staff recognise the importance of both what we eat and the pleasure derived from the act of eating and drinking. We can offer you advice, resources or signpost you to further information to help deal with any diet issues or concerns you and those who care for you may have.
If you are having particular problems or concerns about your diet or your condition affects your ability to eat and drink (including enjoyment) you can also ask to see one of our Registered Dietitians in our Dietetics Service.
Registered Dietitians work to a professional code of conduct, are healthcare professionals and are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.
What can the Dietetics Service offer?
Many patients with conditions such as cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and neurological conditions, can experience dietary challenges and food-related symptoms that can change over time and impact on their quality of life. Our Dietitians provide advice about what is best to eat and drink when living with a life-limiting illness.
Translating the science and evidence into practical guidance to suit individual needs, our Dietitians will tailor the dietary advice to help manage symptoms, optimise energy and well-being and allow patients to manage their condition. We also recognise the importance of supporting family members and carers particularly when food becomes a source of anxiety and concern.
Examples of advice provided include dietary counselling for patients and carers on the following:
- Dealing with unintentional weight loss, improving appetite and ideas to help weight gain or avoid further weight loss
- Managing diabetes – particularly when appetite is affected or weight loss has occurred
- Dealing with gut-related issues and bowel problems including those that can arise after cancer treatments
- Identifying and managing food allergies and food intolerances
- Dietary modification to manage bowel issues including irritable bowel, diarrhoea and constipation
- How to cater and eat well when breathlessness and fatigue is a problem
- Correct use of nutritional supplements
- Managing undesirable weight gain e.g. with steroid use
- Tube feeding to fit in with everyday routines
- Modified texture diets for those with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) as can occur with cancer of the oesophagus
- Dietary change to manage the effects cancer can have on nutritional needs e.g. muscle loss, weakness, taste changes
- Neurological conditions e.g. Motor Neurone Disease
We have a range of diet sheets and resources that you may find helpful. Please contact the Clinical Coordination Centre on 0345 0130 555 for more information.
How can I access the Dietetics Service?
If you are already under the care of Dorothy House, you can ask to be referred to the Dietetics Service.
If you are new to Dorothy House, you will need to talk to your GP, District Nurse or other healthcare professional about being referred to our services via the Clinical Coordination Centre on 0345 0130 555.
Where will my appointment be?
Most patients will be offered an appointment as an outpatient at one of our Dorothy House sites. We can also give advice over the phone. Once referred we will contact you or your carer directly to make arrangements.
Anne Holdoway, Specialist Dietitian at Dorothy House Hospice Care
‘Dietary issues associated with palliative conditions such as cancer can be very debilitating. Having worked for 30 years as a Dietitian I remain passionate about helping patients find a solution for distressing symptoms that can affect everyday living. Diet can’t cure our patients but for many it can transform their lives.’
Patient at Dorothy House Hospice Care
‘My nutrition is important to me … It allows me to live my life, have the strength to do what I need to do and what I want to do.’
John Davies, Chief Executive, Dorothy House Hospice Care
‘Nutrition and its effective use is such an important part of the care pathway. It is integral to how we live each and every day from sustenance to companionship.’