Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
A dietitian or clinical nutritionist is a health professional who is qualified to give specific advice and recommendations on diets that promote well-being and recovery from disease.
Dietitians use their knowledge of food, nutrition, health and disease to develop individualised nutritional care plans for clients. Nutrition recommendations are based on scientific studies and evidence-based practice. The professional body for governance of clinical nutritionists and dietitians in Ireland is the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute (INDI).
The dietitian's role during cancer treatment
Dietitians ensure optimum nutrition for patients undergoing or recovering from cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. For people with cancer, good nutrition and food intake can improve tolerance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and also improve their quality of life.
Dietetic services during cancer treatment include
- Assessment and education regarding special diets.
- Management of side effects from treatment.
- Management of tube feeding.
- Nutrition education for patients, families and carers.
- Information on nutrition and diet for cancer support groups.
- Advice on emerging diet therapies and potential benefits or harmful effects from these diets.