Nutrition for Hematology and Oncology Patients
Phoenix Children’s Hospital provides two full-time registered dietitians (RDs) who provide comprehensive nutrition services for patients of all ages in both the inpatient and ambulatory settings. Our dietitians have expertise in caring for your growing child and helping your family set and reach nutritional goals specific to hematology and oncology.
While the children we work with have many different disease states and conditions, we do our very best to support each family in moving toward healthy eating and good nutrition as well as prioritizing the healthy growth of the child during treatment. We hope that our work not only provides support during treatment, but also sets our patient’s up for healthy living beyond their time of treatment. The registered dietitians (RD) work directly with patients and families to develop nutrition plans that meet the medical and cultural needs of the family.
Our in-patient registered dietitian is assigned to each new patient in the hospital either with a newly diagnosed cancer or hematologic disease or each new patient with cancer or a blood disorder to receive care at Phoenix Children’s. Here are some of the things you might expect when meeting the dietitian for the first time:
- A comprehensive nutrition assessment (including growth assessment, diet history, and likes/dislikes of your child).
- Child/parent education on food safety and possible special diets (depending on diagnosis/treatment).
- Introduction to possible nutrition support interventions during treatment (tube feedings, or parenteral (IV) nutrition).
- Introduction of possible nutritional supplements that may be used to optimize oral intake and thwart unwanted weight loss and malnutrition during treatment.
- Discussion of proper use of complementary and alternative medicines.
- Contact information for both RDs.
After initially meeting Kelly, she will consistently be an integral part of your health care team inpatient and be a key component of assessing your child’s health and nutritional wellness overall. She will be available for education, evaluation, and implementation of nutritional interventions throughout each hospital stay.
Once your child is out of the hospital and following up in our ambulatory clinic, Kristen Williams, MS, RD, CNSC, handles the outpatients' nutrition needs. Here the original assessment begins if your child has not yet been in the hospital or continued follow up will occur from previous nutritional intervention that began inpatient. Kristen is able to provide nutrition assessment and counseling to help with a variety of outpatient nutrition issues including:
- Assessment of nutritional and growth status.
- Management of tube feeding and/or parenteral (IV) nutrition.
- Education on healthy eating and appropriate exercise.
- Education on special diets required by certain disease states.
- Support with reintroduction of normal eating during and after cancer treatment.
- Support of family in assessing any complementary or alternative medicines that may be desired during or after cancer treatment.
In general, we recommend that the following diagnoses follow the low microbial diet from diagnosis until treatment completion: All AML/APL, JMML, Relapsed ALL, Aplastic Anemia, Burkitts Lymphoma, High Risk Neuroblastoma, Head Start Chemotherapy or Boston Protocol (ATRT) chemotherapy Brain Tumor patients, Philadelphia Chromosome Positive ALL patients, and SCIDS patients.
We recommend all other cancer diagnoses that do not require following of the low microbial diet to pay special attention to food safety and take the considerations listed in the food safety diet to heart for the duration of treatment.
For all nutrition services or concerns please contact:
Kristen Williams, MS, RD, CNSC.
Phoenix Children's Hospital
1919 E Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
P: (602) 933-0937