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Mater’s Nutrition and Dietetics Department on winning streak

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Mater’s Nutrition and Dietetics Department on winning streak

Mater’s Nutrition and Dietetics Department was successful in receiving a number of awards at the recent Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) national conference, held in Hobart at the end of May.

Director Nutrition and Dietetics Sally McCray was announced as the winner of the DAA President’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and Dr Shelley Wilkinson was awarded the Research in Practice award.

The President’s Award for Innovation acknowledges Ms McCray’s work on the implementation and measuring outcomes of Australia’s first hotel-style hospital room service at Mater’s South Brisbane campus.

The service delivers more than 2000 meals a day to patients and has shown an increase in nutritional intake by patients of between 20-25 per cent for both calorie and protein intake. Since the new service was rolled out there has also been an overall reduction in plate wastage by 17 per cent.

Ms McCray said that the benefits of the service have been outstanding.

“I am very proud that our innovative model has been recognised by the Dietitians Association of Australia and that patients are enjoying their food which is leading to an increase in nutritional intake,” Ms McCray said.

The patient centric service model delivers meals to suit the individual clinical and dietary requirements of patients, at a time that suits them and when they feel like eating.

“As a result patients are eating more, wasting less and are happier. This is particularly important in the acute care setting as research shows that on average 30 per cent of hospitalised patients are malnourished due to illness, treatment or side effects of these.”

Mater clinician and researcher Dr Shelley Wilkinson was awarded the Research in Practice award for her work on Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and disseminating best practice care to two regional centres, one in Cairns and one in Toowoomba.

Dr Wilkinson said that GDM occurs in more than 5 per cent of pregnancies and poorly controlled gestational diabetes can result in significant negative pregnancy, delivery and long-term outcomes.

“Medical Nutrition Therapy is the primary intervention strategy for GDM and guidelines recommend women receive this in an evidence-based appointment schedule, via set individual sessions with a dietitian,” Dr Wilkinson said.

“Unfortunately, this rarely happens in Australian centres.

“When the best practice model was delivered in Mater Mothers’ Hospitals we found this decreased patient’s need for medication and increased physical activity was noted.  There were also other positive effects such as improved diet quality, lower healthcare costs and increased satisfaction from patients and staff.”

After implementing the best practice model at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals, Dr Wilkinson’s project aimed to identify strategies to facilitate implementation at other centres.

“We worked closely with two different centres in Cairns and Toowoomba and we saw a significant increase in the proportion of women who received best practice care at both centres,” Dr Wilkinson said.

Dr Wilkinson is now working on a qualitative analysis of the sites’ experiences to further inform expanded engagement with dietitians across the state to adopt this approach.

Alongside these two achievements, previous Mater dietitian Catherine McFarlane also won the Emerging Research award for her published paper, “Nutritional management of cystic fibrosis and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes in Australia”, which she conducted while working in the Mater Nutrition and Dietetics team. 

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Tags: Diabetes, dietitian, Dr Shelley Wilkinson, Mater Health, Mater Mothers, nutrition, Room Service, Sally McCray