P2-109 Investigating the Role of Dietitians in the Provision of Food Safety Advice for Vulnerable Patients in the UK

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Tampa Convention Center)
Ellen W. Evans , ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, Cardiff Metropolitan University , Cardiff , United Kingdom
Denise Parish , Cardiff School of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University , Cardiff , United Kingdom
Elizabeth C. Redmond , ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, Cardiff Metropolitan University , Cardiff , United Kingdom
Introduction: Immunosuppression resulting from disease (e.g.diabetes, HIV/AIDS), treatment (e.g.chemotherapy, transplant/anti-rejection drugs) or antibody decline (pregnancy), creates vulnerable-patient groups that may have an increased risk of foodborne illness. To reduce risk, vulnerable patients (VP) must be adequately informed to implement risk-reducing food safety (FS) practices. Dietitians are trusted/desired providers of food-safety information; however, limited research has investigated the dietitian’s role in this area.

Purpose: This study explored FS information provision to VP and the role of dietitians.

Methods: A mixed-methods approach included questionnaires completed by trainee-dietitians (n=34), VP (n=40 pregnant women, n=120 chemotherapy patients); review of FS resources available from NHS boards/trusts(n=159); and in-depth stakeholder interviews with the British Dietetic Association, dietetic academics, and registered dietitians.

Results: Overall, FS information provision for VP was lacking. Although all trainee-dietitians reported working with VP, only 35% recalled provision of FS advice, which was most frequently given to pregnant women. Less than half of pregnant women (45%) and chemotherapy patients (49%) reported receiving FS information. FS resources were available from 30% of NHS boards/trusts; considerable gaps existed and information varied greatly between sources. Interviews established that other food-related health issues (diabetes/obesity) were dietetic priorities. Not all VP meet with dietitians, however, dietitians are well-placed to facilitate cascade training to support other healthcare providers to inform and enable VP to mitigate foodborne illness risk. Currently, trainee-dietetic curriculum requires knowledge of FS legislation, often achieved by completion of FS programs designed for food industry employees. This content may not be clinically applicable/specifically tailored for dietitians delivering FS advice to VP. Indeed, 50% of trainee-dietitians believed the training they received was insufficient.

Significance: Amending trainee-dietician curriculum from knowledge of legislation to incorporate FS information provision, along with developing a continuing professional development program for registered dietitians, may improve dissemination of FS advice to VP and healthcare providers. Furthermore, standardized resources are required to support delivery of FS advice.