Niamh Maher, Senior Dietitian, HSE CHO 9
Niamh has worked as a Senior Dietitian for Home Enteral Feeding since 2008. Based in the Community in North Dublin, her primary role is to co-ordinate the nutritional care of all adults discharged into the area on enteral feeding. Prior to taking up this role, she worked as a Senior Dietitian in Oncology and ENT at Beaumont Hospital for 10 years, during which time she coordinated the discharge and follow-up of oncology & surgery patients on home enteral feeding. She was also a member of the INDI/IASLT working group which developed the ‘National descriptors for terminology for modified foods and fluids’ in 2009.
Niamh is a member of the IrSPEN Management Committee and also sits on IrSPEN’s Policy and Practice Committee. She is a joint coordinator in the development of IrSPEN’s Standards & Guidelines for Home Enteral Nutrition in Ireland.
It is estimated by IrSPEN that there are 2000 adults and children on Home Enteral Nutrition (HEN) in Ireland at any one time (at home and in residential care). Today, tube feeds are more advanced, tubes and placement easier and more discrete and equipment is more reliable, with flexible options for feeding to allow people on HEN to live as normal a life as possible. The key questions for all stakeholders involved in HEN provision is: what do HEN adults/children/carers think and feel about their own experiences of HEN, and how can we improve this experience. To help us answer these questions a survey of a sample of service users was conducted and a HEN workshop for HEN recipients was held in 2016. The outcomes were used to help inform new IrSPEN HEN guidelines being developed by a group of key stakeholders from across Ireland.