Promotion of the Hospital Dietitian
The Hospital Dietitians Interest Group aims to promote the special scope of practise of the hospital dietitian within the medical sector as the only professionals who is able to assess, implement, monitor and evaluate nutritional therapy in the hospital setting.
The information on what the dietitian does and how crucial it is to the wellbeing of the patient needs to be communicated to the government, medical funding industry, hospital groups and the medical sector in general. Inge Retief is currently the person responsible for this segment of the group and regularly visits the medical funders and related groups.
The importance of this is to give all patients in South Africa access to a hospital dietitian and to ensure that their services and the nutritional therapy products are being paid by the correct authorities. Furthermore, if the importance of this service is noted in all sectors it will sustain the scope of practise of the hospital dietitian and bring it into higher demand.
Protection of the Hospital Dietitian
With the changing environment in the healthcare sector in South Africa, it is important that the hospital dietitian is protected, not only to retain our careers but also to ensure that South African patients will have enhanced care in years to come.
By promoting the hospital dietitian’s special scope of practise to the medical funders, we aim to try and eliminate non-payment of diet therapy. This will include both the dietitian’s bill and the products used in the hospital setting. By doing this the need for motivation to medical funders may be eliminated in future, as this is a time consuming practise which might be needed for all patients seen in future if these issues are not addressed.
The group also aims to share information with necessary administrative procedures to prevent misconduct by dietitians and to ensure that both the dietitian and the patient are protected by means of the correct legal documentation.
Additionally we aim is to standardize billing of diet therapy in the hospital setting to once again protect the hospital dietitian’s profession as well as the medical funders and ultimately the patient.
Empowerment of the Hospital Dietitian
The Hospital Dietitian Interest Group is in the process of setting up additional training for dietitians wanting to work in the hospital setting and in future even accredit these training events.
Training needs encompass clinical nutrition therapy and also includes how to set up a hospital dietitian’s practise with focus on administration, billing and professional relationship building. Furthermore, we are regularly making documentation available to dietitians online.