Lilian is one of our fabulous Dieticians who works in Residential Aged Care facilities across Adelaide, SA. Lilian commenced as a new graduate Dietician with us in early 2019 and has become a central part of our dietetics team! We were lucky enough to steal some of her time to hear what her job is like and what her favourite part of it is as part of our #MeetUs series!
If you’re unsure of what working as part of a wider allied health team is really like, then stay tuned for our #MeetUs series where we showcase various team members and the work they do with us.
Why do you like working in aged care/community/NDIS?
Working as a dietitian in aged care has given me the exposure to the care of our elderly population. There is a sense of community in most of these homes which gives a very welcoming and homely environment that I really enjoy being in. Working in aged care has given me the opportunity to work with the elderly and their families to improve their quality of life through nutrition which has been very rewarding.
What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you?
I am fortunate that this job isn’t limited to one worksite as I get to travel to many different nursing homes all around Adelaide and rural SA. This has exposed me to so many different areas of SA that I’ve never been to which has been awesome! A ‘normal’ day would see me going to 2-3 different sites which can be challenging as I have to try and adapt to each new site that I am introduced to however I’d much prefer that over being limited to the same one site as it allows me to meet so many new people and expose me to different environments.
How have you found working with the elderly population?
I have loved my time working with the elderly as they are incredibly inspiring people with so much wisdom and life experience which is truly valuable to me. I am very grateful that I am able to work together with the elderly towards improving their quality of life with nutrition support as they are equally as important as everyone else in our community.
What’s your team like?
Although there is a team of dietitians, we work autonomously so we don’t really see each other and there are some whom I’ve never met in person! We stay in touch via MS Teams which has allowed us to communicate through a forum if we needed some advice or support from other dietitians.
What do you do to help your clients?
I speak to the staff and other therapists to get to know the resident a little better before seeing them. Once prepared, I will speak to the resident and discuss what we can do to help via nutrition interventions to help achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. I then relay our discussion to the staff so the nutrition interventions can be implemented via the kitchen and carers with different dietary needs and/or the nurses and doctors via oral nutrition supplements (if necessary).
Did you always want to work with the elderly or in community settings?
As a new graduate, I was open to working with the elderly as I just wanted to gain some working experience since completing my degree. Since working with the elderly for about a year now, I am so glad and grateful that I chose this path for my dietetic career as I now love working in aged care with the elderly because of them and the hardworking staff.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite aspect of working with the elderly is when I spend my time talking to them and getting to know them as an individual as it really makes my day. Whenever I feel down, I always think of this one resident who I spoke with and once we were saying our goodbyes he put his hand over his heart and said, “thank you dear, you’ve made my heart fuller and lighter”, and it brings me a lot of joy and happiness that I am able to help someone like that.
Do you have any advice for students or new graduates?
Be open to any opportunities offered to you as you may end up finding your true passion.
Thanks for catching up with us again!
For more information on what your allied health career could look like with HCA Allied Health, call us today on 1300 952 433 or email our team at: [email protected].