O.A X NUTRITION Part 3 – Supplements
August 2, 2022
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As an NDIS participant, working alongside a Dietitian can provide assistance in a range of ways, particularly in providing education regarding nutrition and developing appropriate individualised meal plans specific to the individuals physical, intellectual, sensory or psychiatric impairments, which may lead to unique food and nutrition needs, in addition to general requirements for growth, development and maintenance, defence against infection, repair of injury, physical activity and mental health.

Who are Dietitians?

Dietitians are accredited and qualified to provide ethical, safe and evidence-based dietetic services, and work by promoting health and the prevention and treatment of illness by optimising the nutrition of individuals. Dietitians take into consideration an individual’s values and circumstances, looking closely at their medical history, social history and level of knowledge regarding nutrition, and then combine their own expertise and judgement with scientific evidence to provide individualised recommendations.

Research and Key Areas we can provide support:

Research has found that 69% of Australian adults living with a disability are considered overweight or obese, whilst 53% also suffer from avoidable chronic diseases. One of these diseases is diabetes, of which 23% of Australian’s living with a disability have before the age of 25 years. With these facts in mind, it is evident that the health of this population is at risk. Therefore, seeing a Dietitian can help in providing the skills to live healthier and more independent lives, and work to manage overweight and obesity and reduce the risks of developing chronic health conditions. Services that a Dietitian can provide to NDIS participants and their caregivers include, but are not limited to:

  • Nutrition and mealtime assessment
  • Development and review of mealtime management plans
  • Development and review of meal plans
  • Nutrition therapy including food and nutrition counselling to support behaviour change
  • Building meal preparation skills, menu planning skills, shopping and budgeting skills, communication support in relation to food, nutrition and health

Specific key areas that a Dietitian can provide support in include:

  • Pressure injuries and infections (poor wound healing)
  • Bowel and urinary tract health (bloating, GI dysmotility, constipation, diarrhoea, intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD – reflux, vomiting, regurgitation, ruminating)
  • Dental health (oral hygiene issues or dentition issues affecting food intake)
  • Immune system issues (increased susceptibility to infections)
  • Malnutrition indicators and blood pathology (iron deficiency, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood glucose)
  • Nutrition imbalance (fussy eating, avoiding whole food groups, low/high intakes of macro/micronutrients)
  • Food allergies and intolerances (coeliac disease, cow’s milk allergy, lactose intolerance, FODMAPS)
  • Meal prompting and routine (intellectual disability)
  • Sensory impairments (altered tolerances)
  • Appetite regulation
  • Polypharmacy (drug / nutrient interactions)
  • Food behaviour (picky eaters, food avoidance, selective eating)

Focusing on these areas can help an individual living with a disability to increase knowledge and capacity to independently make food choices, at home and in the community, as well as to make appropriate food choices to support their weight, energy levels and muscle strength to maintain their health and independence.

How the NDIS can provide funding:

If you need assistance in managing your nutrition due to your disability or would like support in managing one of the key areas listed above, the NDIS may be able to fund a Dietitian to create and review an individualised nutritional plan for you. The NDIS have a dedicated funding area for improved daily living or health and wellbeing. If your disability affects your ability to understand healthy eating or to eat, cook or prepare meals on your own, they can also fund support to help you prepare your meals according to your nutrition plan if you don’t have family, friends and carers to help. Also, if your disability means you have trouble with looking after your nutrition yourself, the NDIS may fund training for the people who help to support your nutrition needs, for example, training on how to follow a nutritional meal plan. Please get in touch with the NDIS to see whether this funding is available to you.

References available on request.

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