Renal dietetic service

Renal dietitians specialise in assessing nutritional requirements for those people with kidney problems, taking into account their complex needs. Renal dietitians aim to ensure patients are at their best nutritional status possible at all times. 

Diet is an important part of the management for kidney disease. Healthy kidneys remove waste products and water from the body in the urine. When kidneys start to fail, these waste products build up and may result in symptoms such as poor appetite and weight loss. People who have kidney failure may need to avoid or limit certain foods and drinks to help control the levels of some of these waste products.

Renal dietitians provide individual tailored advice; based on blood results, whether a person is dialysing or not, their normal eating habits, social circumstances and any other medical conditions.  

Who we are

We are part of the renal multi-disciplinary team employed by East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust based at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Our team consists of 4 specialist renal dietitians, a dietetic practitioner, and 2 dietetic assistants; our clinical governance lead is Dr. Mike Delaney. Each dietitian is responsible for a specified satellite unit and we share input into the dialysis unit in Canterbury.

Who we provide a service to 

We provide dietetic input into the following:

  • Advanced kidney care clinics at Canterbury 
  • Transplant clinic in Canterbury
  • Main haemodialysis unit in Canterbury
  • Renal satellite units in Medway, Maidstone, Ashford, Dover and Margate
  • Home haemodialysis patients 
  • Peritoneal dialysis patients
  • Renal inpatients in Canterbury
  • All other renal out patients have access to the renal dietitians via face to face appointments and/or by telephone.

Why we provide a service 

  • Renal dietitians are best placed to provide nutrition and dietetic counselling. 
  • Poor appetite is common during the pre-dialysis and dialysis period and can lead to malnutrition. 
  • Dietitians work with other healthcare professionals to combat undernutrition with the aim of improving quality of life, reducing admissions to hospital and length of stay, and helping prevent complications such as secondary chest infections and pressure ulcers.
  • As the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste, phosphate levels increase in the blood. Over time, this leads to bone complications and hardening of the blood vessels that increase the risk of heart disease. Dietetic intervention, together with medication, helps reduce and control phosphate levels.
  • Potassium levels may also rise resulting in muscle weakness which can seriously affect the heart. Dietetic advice helps contol the intake of potassium. 
  • For 6 months post transplant, patients should follow a diet that avoids certain foods during the early stages of immunosuppression.

The renal dietitians provide education to the following:

  • Training student dietitians from Surrey University. As part of their 4 year degree course, students spend 7 months training in the healthcare environment.
  • Patient groups. Patient education empowers patients, their families and carers by providing support and helping to improve health outcomes.
  • Nutrition education to healthcare professionals and catering staff. This enables staffing groups across all sectors to identify and better treat patients who are at risk of malnutrition.

Manager: Karen Thomsett (responsible for Dover and Margate Satellite Units)

Highly specialist dietitian: Sharon Underwood (responsible for Medway Satellite Unit, shares Maidstone Unit)

Specialist dietitians: Robert Fleming (shares Maidstone Satellite Unit) and Joanna Lamming (responsible for Ashford Satellite Unit)

Dietetic Practitioner: Sarah Saunders

Dietetic Assistants: Cynthia Charter and Valerie Jones

How to contact us

Address: Renal dietetics, Kent Kidney Care Centre, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury CT1 3NG

Telephone: 01227 868 789

Uemail: ekh-tr.RenalDietitians@nhs.net

Useful links

Recipe books

  • “Eating Well for Kidney Health: Expert Guidance and Delicious Recipes” by Helena Jackson, Gavin James, Claire Green. Publisher: Class Publishing. ISBN-10: 185959204X 
  • “Eating Well with Kidney Failure: A Practical Guide and Cookbook” by Helena Jackson, Gavin James, Claire Green. Publisher: Class Publishing. ISBN-10: 9781859591161
  • “Truly Tasty: Over 100 Special Recipes Created by Irelands Top Chefs for Adults Living with Kidney Disease” by Valerie Twomey. Publisher: Atrium. ISBN-10: 1855942143
  • “Food with Thought” £2.50 from NKF Helpline, The National Kidney Federation, The Point, Coach Road, Shireoaks, Worksop, Notts S81 8BW