Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Celebrating Dietitians Week: Meet Tony

Friday 24 March 2023

Tony is no stranger to Austin Health, he’s been a patient of ours for more than a decade.

Twenty years ago, Tony was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer. After what was meant to be routine nasal surgery to help his breathing, came a diagnosis he had no idea was lurking behind the scenes.

Following multiple rounds of chemotherapy, Tony started to suffer from nerve damage that has since meant he has lost his ability to swallow. For the past seven years he has been under the care of our dietitians to ensure he receives the nutrients he needs.

This week is Dietitians Week, and we are proud of the strong workforce of dietitians we have at Austin Health.

Not only do our staff help patients like Tony get enough nutrients, dietitians like Jacqui Bailey also help patients with multiple areas of their care.

“I love the intellectual challenge of being a ‘diet detective’, solving the puzzle of how to meet a patient's medical, psychosocial, and cultural food and nutrition needs. But ultimately the satisfaction lies with empowering patients to make changes that impact their health and well-being.

“Being able to explain complex health concepts to patients in simple language they understand is a key skill for dietitians. We use active listening, patient-centred goal setting, and motivational interviewing techniques to help patients manage their health conditions,” says Jacqui.

Every six months Tony needs a tube in his stomach that gives him nutrients replaced, prior to being under the care of Jacqui, he found this experience extremely distressing.

“These exchanges were very unpleasant and painful and l would dread the day.

“I spoke to my dietician about my ongoing bad experiences and how l felt a major factor was that l was simply not being listened to and she suggested for me to have a different type of tube put in that she could manage,” Tony said.

Jacqui now replaces Tony’s tube for him, along with consistently monitoring his nutrition and overall health. Not only has this proved to be a far better experience for Tony, having his tube changed in this manner saves patients at least four hours every visit.

“Most of our patients have complex health needs and it feels great to help streamline their care wherever possible. Improving people's lives is the reason dietitians choose to work in healthcare. It's extremely rewarding to see patient care improved by our interventions and service innovations,” Jacqui said.

You can read more about Dietitians Week here.