Written by Eat Well Age Well Project Dietitian, Jen Grant
As Project Dietitian within Eat Well Age Well I am one of the few registered Dietitians working in the third sector in Scotland. After a varied career within the NHS, I made the move to Eat Well Age Well in 2019. I wanted to experience a new way of working and contribute more to the prevention of malnutrition in the community as I had seen first-hand the consequences of malnutrition going undetected and untreated.
Within my role as Project Dietitian, I have the opportunity to use my experience as a dietitian in a variety of ways. I am responsible for sense checking the nutritional information that is disseminated to the public and I have had the opportunity to develop specific resources to fill a need in the community such our store cupboard recipe booklet that aims to provided simple recipes that older people can prepare for one or more people using easy to obtain and store ingredients. I also develop and deliver training to a variety of health and social care workers, volunteers, and unpaid carers to improve the knowledge and understanding of malnutrition and food first advice of those who work directly with and support older people in the community.
A key part of my role includes providing support to our partners across Scotland who are developing and testing new projects around the prevention, detection, and treatment of malnutrition across Scotland. I am well placed as a dietitian to ensure these projects work well alongside existing work being carried out by local dietitians as well as making the connections that would allow for better joined up working between local dietitians and the organisations that work with older people in their local areas. As part of this support I manage, along side Eat Well Age Well’s Innovations Officer Gail Hutchison, our Malnutrition Advice Line a free phone line that is aimed at supporting older people and those who work with and support them to access first line malnutrition advice quickly and effectively allowing local dietitians to see the complex cases that require their specialist input.
Overall working in the third sector has been a wonderful experience for me and has allowed me to play a greater role in the research and development of new projects and ways of working around the prevention and detection of malnutrition in the community. I believe Dietitians are well placed to have rolls in the third sector supporting new and well-established organisations aimed at preventing health issues from developing or supporting those with health issues in the community. However, it is key that strong relationships are maintained between health and social care and voluntary organisations in order to allow resources to be used effectively and new initiations to be implemented successfully.
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Our Malnutrition Advice Line is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am – 4pm. Call 0800 13 88 220