Senior Clinical Dietitian
Prince of Wales Hospital
“My role in the spinal injury unit is to make sure patients are well nourished, using their medical and diet history. I provide the appropriate therapeutic diet, or IV nutrition, as well as education and counselling on how their diet needs to change with a spinal cord injury. I want to make sure patients get enough fibre and fluid, protein and the right amount of vitamins and minerals – for a healthy bowel, prevention of pressure injuries and protection from osteoporosis.
Diet is so important but it may go on the back burner for patients, because they’ve got too much else going on. Some think ‘the only control I have is with my food and I’m going to enjoy it and not cut anything out’. You can understand, but the downside is weight gain and the risk of pressure injuries.
Some patients are lucky enough to have relatives close by that can bring them nice home cooked meals. I would never say don’t bring in food, because food is more than just nourishment, it’s also love, comfort and socialising. I’ve seen buckets of KFC and pizza arrive and I have to turn a blind eye. The delivery guys do pretty well to find their way into the unit.”