Tygerberg Hospital dietitian passionate about nutrition

Tygerberg Hospital dietitian Ilde Kellerman

When everything tastes like nothing, it’s not surprising that Covid-19 patients don’t eat well. This according to Tygerberg Hospital dietitian Ilde Kellerman, who lives in Bellville.

Solving these problems without direct patient contact is tough, says this week’s Tygerberg Hospital coronavirus Hero Amongst Us.

The hero-amongst-us campaign seeks to highlight an official’s achievements, abilities or personal qualities during the Covid-19 pandemic, says Tygerberg Hospital spokesperson Laticia Pienaar.

As a dietitian in a tertiary hospital, Ms Kellerman has worked in the human nutrition department for 11 years. She says nutrition is very important for optimal recovery, both during and after hospitalisation, as a part of the healing process. This is especially the case with critically ill intensive care unit (UCU) patients who are bedridden and ventilated. “Within the ‘new normal’ of Covid-19-related challenges, nutrition becomes even more important,” she says. “Imagine trying to eat when you’re severely short of breath, extremely scared of the unknown, unable to see your family and friends and struggling to swallow,” she says.

Another challenge as a dietitian is that she is unable to have direct contact with the patient although team members in A5 ICU adapted to this.

Ms Kellerman says this teamwork created a family bond that is continuing to see them through the food delivery process – whether oral intake, supplements or where tube feeds are recommended.

Ms Kellerman says that by valuing each team member and their various disciplines, they can focus on doing their own bit every day with gratitude. “May God bless everyone on the frontlines who are fighting the good fight,” she says.