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Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit (ASRU)

Public Service

Dietetic Service

Food and nutrition plays an important role in the rehabilitation process and long-term health of people with spinal cord injuries.  Immediately following injury significant weight loss and alterations to body composition is common making the person vulnerable to low energy levels and pressure ulcers. During and after the rehabilitation phase healthy eating is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and minimising the higher risk of obesity, pressure ulcers, bladder and bowel problems, diabetes and heart disease.

Who we are:
We have a NZ Registered Dietitian on site 2-3 days each week.

Dietitians are experts in nutrition who provide treatment, education and support in order to improve health outcomes. They apply scientific knowledge about food and nutrition to individuals and groups. Dietitians must be registered to practice under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003 and abide by a code of ethics. 

How is a dietitian different from a nutritionist?
Dietitians are uniquely qualified in clinical nutrition and so can manage the nutritional care of people in disease as well as health, in a variety of health settings. They are registered health professionals who are required to meet standards of professionalism under the NZ Dietitians’ Board. They have completed a postgraduate qualification in Dietetics and must abide by a code of ethics and participate in a continuing competency programme that includes regular audit.

What we do:
Inpatients at the spinal unit are provided with the opportunity to improve their nutritional status and to learn about the nutritional management of spinal cord injury. This includes:

  • Nutrition assessment, intervention and follow-up as required
  • Provision of nutritional supplements, enteral feeds and special diets as appropriate
  • Group and individual/family/whanau education

Referral criteria:
All inpatients are assessed by the dietitian following admission.

This page was last updated at 12:40PM on August 13, 2020.