Article written by :
Sudeshna Maitra Nag
MSc. in Food & Nutrition (C.U.)
Certificate in Applied Human Nutrition ( Cambridge University)
PGDM in Public Relation, Certified Diabetic Educator
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ – Hippocrates (400BC)
Food as medicine has been a powerful approach to health and healing, intimately woven into naturopathic medical education for over a century.Food does much more than simply providing us with fuel. It may promote or worsen health, depending on what we eat.A nutrient dense diet of whole foods has been shown to prevent many chronic diseases. Thus may people argue that food is medicine. Yet diet alone cannot replace medicine in all circumstances. So diet and medicine goes hand in hand while treating patients with different diseases.
The Dietetics department of Peerless Hospital is also working in collaboration with the medical fraternity to provide best possible treatment to the ailing patients. The department runs with a team of 10 dietitians, 6 trainee dietitians and dietetic interns (number varies from time to time) under my guidance. The department is functional from 8 am to 8 pm and is looking after both IPD (In Patient Department) and OPD (Out Patient Department).
For IPD there is a departmental SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). Dietitians plan diet for each and every patient according to the diagnosis and requirement. Dietitians meet all the patients on admission to assess their nutritional status and to know their food habits. On basis of the nutritional status of the patients and their liking, disliking, food allergies and ethnic background diet plans are formulated. Feedback is taken from each patient on a daily basis to minimize any diet related hazards. The patients who are unable to have normal foods (mainly Geriatric patients and children) special care are taken to keep their nutritional status on the mark. Diet counseling of patient and patients’ relative are done during the discharge. Diet chart is also provided. All the dietary advices are planned in coordination with the treating consultant.
One of the major parts of dietary services is providing therapeutic diet to the admitted patients. There is a huge in-house kitchen where there are more than 100 staffs working day and night. A four square meal is served to the patients depending on their nutritional need. All the meals are nutritionally balanced and food quality is checked by the dietitians every day. There are set menu for different types of diseases, but modification are done on the basis of individual requirement. All foods are cooked and served maintaining the highest hygienic norms. Quality of raw food products are checked regularly. Proper temperature is maintained to keep frozen food items healthy. The stored food are used by FIFO ( First in first out) method. Above all laboratory tests of cooked foods are done by Infection control department to maintain the optimum hygiene level.
For OPD patients ( Outpatient department) diet counseling are done by the chief dietitian and the senior dietitians on doctor referral basis. But individual can come for a diet consultation by self interest on appointment basis.
Dietetics department is imparting training on dietetics to the students of different universities who come for hospital internship. Dietitians are also engaged in spreading awareness on nutrition in community, educational institutions and corporate offices from time to time. Numerous articles and columns on diet and nutrition have been published on leading news papers and health magazines on a regular basis. We have started holding National Conference on Nutrition and Dietetics since last year. It was a huge success and we did have delegates coming in from other countries as well. We look forward to holding many such conferences and continuous education in the future too.