I have worked in the NHS for the past 3 years, initially in the acute services and for the past 2 years in community settings. My interest within Dietetics has always been in Eating Disorders due to having a childhood friend suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. I joined the NELFT All Age Eating Disorders Service in Kent in June 2018.
Registered Dietitians have an important role in Eating Disorder Treatment. They support patients through normalising a patient’s relationship with food, as well as optimising their nutritional needs. Patients struggling with an Eating Disorder will, typically, have irrational thoughts about their body, food and weight. The Dietitian will work with the patient to re-educate on nutrition and challenge the abnormal behaviours while meeting their nutritional requirements.
A thorough nutritional assessment looks into the patient’s current clinical status, weight history, dietary intake, eating pattern and beliefs around food. This information will help design a customised meal plan for each individual patient that will optimise their nutritional intake and meet their energy and protein requirements.
In addition, patients with Anorexia Nervosa are at high risk of Refeeding Syndrome. Dietitians are specially trained to identify those patients at risk of Refeeding Syndrome and producing meal plans that refeed patients safely.
The Kent All Age Eating Disorder Service comprises of Consultant Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Mental Health Nurses and Outreach Support workers that work collaboratively to deliver NICE concordant treatment that includes family based work, therapeutic and dietetic interventions.
Working as a Dietitian within Eating Disorders is a well respected, fulfilling and rewarding role. Seeing the physical and mental change within patients who recover from an Eating Disorder is one of the best feelings in the world.