With a demanding nutritional approach coupled with expert knowledge of nutrition, dietitians at the Children's Hospital pay close attention to ensuring that HUDERF patients have a balanced diet of the highest quality. Grouped together within the hospital's metabolism and nutrition unit, they fine tune individualised diets for children based on their pathology and in cooperation with multidisciplinary teams (paediatricians, nurses, psychologists, speech therapists, etc.). They are also in direct contact with teams from the HUDERF's three preparation centres: the dietetics kitchen, the milk formula/baby bottle kitchen and the mother's milk bank.
For some illnesses the diet is in itself the treatment. Involving the patient, inventing appetising recipes and ensuring nutritional education is fun as well as effective is an inherent part of our approach.
Dietary consultations are organised on the basis of pathology, for outpatients and hospitalised patients:
- General dietetics: nutritional advice for a balanced diet depending on age (from infants to adolescents) or nutritional care for children with dietary disorders (refusal of food) or hyperlipaemia (hypercholesterolemia, etc.).
- Prescribed dietetics for health condition (diabetes, metabolic diseases, cystic fibrosis, nephrology, oral feeding difficulties, obesity and excess weight)
- Specialised dietetics (nutrition – gastroenterology, allergology, neurological diseases).
For hospitalised patients, the team from the dietetics kitchen prepare meals for children and adolescents adapted to their pathology: light breakfast, lunch and evening meal included. The paediatric nurses also prepare food for children aged under 3 years at the milk formula kitchen. On average the team prepares 500 baby bottles a day.
To encourage the feeding of mother's milk to hospitalised babies, mother's milk banks have been created. The HUDERF mother's milk bank is one of four in Belgium. Created in 1989, its role is to manage the mother's milk of mothers of hospitalised babies and mother's milk donations. In this way it allows breastfeeding to continue during hospitalisation, with the encouragement and support of the unit teams. The mother's milk bank also accepts donations from breastfeeding mothers both inside and outside the hospital. Consultations take place to ensure a quality monitoring of these donations.
The dietetics team contributes actively to clinical and fundamental medical research, drawing on specific knowledge and professional experience. They cooperate on research projects and clinical trials relating to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases affecting children and adolescents.