Dietitians for blood and marrow transplant

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Learn how dietitians help during your child's blood and marrow transplant (BMT).

Key points

  • Dietitians are responsible for ensuring your child is getting adequate nutrition and feeding.
  • The dietitian is also responsible for medical nutrition therapy such as TPN, enteral feeding, and oral feeding.

A dietitian is a registered health professional with expertise in healthy eating and nutrition. Dietitians have special training in food, nutrition, and dietetics. Their work is focused on preventing and treating illness through dietary modification. The dietitians who work in hospitals are usually referred to as clinical dietitians. Children undergoing transplants often need the support of a dietitian who can help ensure the best nutritional intake that is possible for the child. They do this by ensuring a well-balanced diet and educating parents so that they can take the necessary steps to do the same.

How can dietitians help your child?

Dietitians assess children in the blood and marrow transplant (BMT) unit to see if their nutrition and feeding are adequate. They record your child’s daily food and fluid intake.

Dietitians sometimes work with occupational therapists if there are physical challenges to food or fluid intake. The dietitian meets daily with the BMT team to discuss your child’s care plan. They are responsible for medical nutrition therapy. This includes:

  • giving your child total parenteral nutrition (TPN). This is a nutritional mixture of protein, fat, sugar, vitamins and minerals that is delivered through your child’s central line into the blood stream. A dietitian delivers the TPN through an intravenous (IV) line into your child’s vein. This mixture is given during times when your child may not feel well enough to eat.
  • enteral (tube). This tube delivers food through your child’s gastrointestinal (GI) track to deliver nutrients from food.
  • oral feeding

How would your child see a dietitian?

A doctor or nurse would refer your baby to a dietitian if there were concerns about your child’s feeding ability or nutritional intake.

What does the dietitian look for?

When evaluating your child, the dietitian will check your child’s:

  • weight
  • height
  • calories
  • food intake
  • fluid status

For more information, please see the page on Feeding and Nutrition.

Last updated: February 12th 2010