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The life of a dietitian at London Digestive Centre

In the Care Quality Commission’s recent ‘Outstanding’ review of London Digestive Centre (LDC), it specifically referenced the exceptional approach to care carried out by LDC dietitians.

Dearbhaile O'Hanlon, senior specialist dietitian for gastroenterology at London Digestive Health, the main consultant group practising at LDC, tells us more about her work.

What does your role as a dietitian at London Digestive Centre involve?

A dietitian, by definition, is an expert in human nutrition and diet. I personally specialise in dietetics specific to gastroenterology; treating patients with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and coeliac disease.

As well as helping GI patients best manage their diet and nutrition, another big part of my role is working with gastroenterologists and surgeons to ensure patients are well nourished and strong ahead of their treatment or surgery.

How do you help patients visiting LDC understand more about diet and nutrition?

For patients, with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), seeing a specialist gastroenterology dietitian who understands the complexities involved is important. I can provide them with high-level dietary support and guidance.

This often involves discussing the effects different foods have on our bodies and advising patients on what foods to avoid to help manage their GI symptoms. I will also assess whether or not a low FODMAP diet would be appropriate and, if so, provide a detailed explanation and support on how to implement it.
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