Nutrition in a health care is vital in the provision of Quality Medical Care. Nutrition is defined as the science of food nutrients, their actions, interaction and balance in relation to health and disease. Today, one cannot manage a patient without considering their nutritional requirements and status. This resulted in the incorporation of the training of Nutritionist on a separate facility. These demands came about due to the recognition of the vital role that Nutritionist plays as part of the health care team which today has adopted a holistic approach in the management of patients in order to attain health care. The department has a team of 39 members who are qualified and competent to carry out nutritional activities within and outside the Hospital.
The units covered by the Nutrition Department in the Hospital include:
- Sick and Well Baby clinics
- Hospital wards
- Nutrition Clinics
- Diabetic Clinics
- PMCTC Clinics
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- Accident and Emergency section
- Hospital Kitchens
- Renal Unit
- HIV clinics (AMPATH)
FUNCTION AND ACTIVITIES OF NUTRITION DEPARTMENT
The nutritionists are mainly involved in the assessment of patients’ nutrition status. This involves collection of information /data and its intervention. Patients are identified through observation of physical signs, suggestive of malnutrition or through their diagnosis. In order to identify patients’ problems and levels in which support will be initiated, the data is collected through: -
1. Anthropometric measurements of weight, height and Basal Mass Index
2. Biochemical data e.g. Hb, electrolytes and stool
3. Nutritional / dietary history
4. Psychosocial information
5. Growth monitoring and promotion of under five in the Sick and Well Baby clinics.
Nutrition Education and Counseling
Carry out nutritional health surveys and in collaboration with health information system to compile summaries and interpret the information from the community. Use Nutritional data to plan, monitor, and evaluate community based nutrition and health programmes.
Nutrition education and counseling is individualized and it is done in the wards and in Nutrition Outpatient Clinic.
This involves implementation of nutritional care through: -
- Educating patients on their prescribed diets
- Meal planning and diet formulation for specific conditions
- Calculating recommended dietary allowance for each patient.
- Ordering meals by filling of diet requisition sheet and food distribution list
- Supervising the service of regular and special diets to all patients
- Evaluation of Nutritional care by assessing whether the objectives are met e.g. monitoring food and fluid intake, assessment of nutritional knowledge as reflected in behaviour and monitoring of anthropometric data.
Staffs are attached to the kitchen and specific duties include: -
1. Ordering food rations to patients
2. Supervising food preparations and service
3. Planning menus and budgeting
4. Supervising preparation of special diets
The department also works hand in hand with catering department in ensuring that the patients get the prescribed diet.
Adequate nutrition is important in sustaining the life of the terminally ill patients. A nutritionist is a member of the palliative care. This is achieved by planning and implementation of nutrition support to such patients i.e. cancer and AIDS patients.
The Department is part of the team that supports sports events within the North Rift by providing Nutrition advice to sports men and women
The department is involved in coordinating the farm produce from AMPATH farm to our patients and Hospital kitchens. Varieties of vegetables are provided on a weekly basis.
The department also is involved in the teaching and assessment of Nutrition students who are attached from various institutions such as KMTC, Medical students, Nursing students from Moi University, Kenyatta University, Maseno, Egerton and University of Eastern Africa Baraton among others.
- Establishment of Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre
- Improvement of patients food / menu
- Provision of Nutrition equipment used in patients assessment
- Operationalization of Nutrition Sports Centre.