Hospital Nutrition Support Services
Sharp uses a team of experts to deliver evidence-based nutrition to patients.
A registered dietitian (RD) is a trained professional with a degree in nutrition from a university. In addition, registered dietitians must complete an internship and pass a state board exam before receiving degrees.
Sharp's inpatient dietitians help patients who are staying in the hospital. Oftentimes, a doctor or nurse identifies a patient at nutritional risk and notifies the dietitian. After reviewing the patient's medical history, lab values, diet and food intake, the dietitian makes recommendations to the physician about the patient's diet and nutrition. The dietitian's job is to ensure the patient is receiving enough and the right type of nutrition while they are in the hospital, which helps the patient heal quickly, gain strength and return home.
Good nutrition plays an important role in the healing process. Sometimes the patient may go home with a special diet. The dietitian will educate the patient and family about the diet and answer any questions. If the patient has more questions after they go home, they can make an appointment to speak with an outpatient dietitian.
If you follow a special diet at home and become hospitalized, you should notify your nurse, doctor or dietitian upon admission.
In some cases, when the hospitalized patient cannot eat enough food due to a poor appetite, difficulty with swallowing or other medical conditions, the dietitian may recommend tube feeding. The tube feeding formula is a liquid containing all necessary nutrition, and is given through a tube into the stomach. If the patient needs to continue tube feeding at home, a home health dietitian will ensure all nutrition needs are met.
Some patients aren't able to eat or receive tube feeding because the stomach or other internal organs aren't working properly. These patients may receive nutrition through the veins. The dietitian, physician, patient and possibly the patient's family will decide which method is best. Specialized nutrition support is essential for patients who cannot absorb adequate nutrients due to major surgery or a specific disease in which the stomach or bowel are not functioning properly. Nutrition support is especially important for malnourished patients and those at high risk for malnutrition.
To learn more about Sharp's specialized nutrition support services, please call 858-499-3114.
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