PR210854: A new dietitian service for senior citizens

Minister for Senior Citizens and Active Ageing Michael Farrugia announced the engaging of a dietitian service with the aim of continuing to promote a better quality of life among senior citizens, as well as keeping them away from diseases as much as possible.

“This will be possible after an evaluation of a number of services was done, and it has been decided that this service will be extended and will cover government residential homes, residential homes under the PPP scheme and Buying of Beds schemes, as well as homebound or vulnerable senior citizens who are unable to attend for outpatients visits,” Minister Farrugia said.

He explained that the introduction of a Clinical Nutrition Practice Nurse to the Active Ageing and Community Care brought with it the need to have its own dietetic service. The demand for this service was considerably increasing both in the community and within the care homes. 

Previously, the service was being offered by the Dietetic Department at Mater Dei Hospital and health centres on an outpatient basis. However, referral processes were limited and caused a burden to the clients and the whole healthcare system. Thus, the Active Ageing and Community Care introduced nine dietitians on part-time basis. All dietitians are allocated to different areas to sustain the availability of the service and ensure high quality care to senior citizens. 

The dietitian will be giving recommendations and advice on nutrition, food, dietary modification/treatments, and will guide elderly and their relatives and staff.

As from 10th May 2021, the dietitians will assess and treat the current 100 clients. The service includes assessments and follow-ups, advice on the appropriate diet for specific clinical/medical conditions, training and advice to other healthcare professionals, and support and advice to carers, thus helping to improve standards of nutrition and dietetics across residential homes and in the community.