We are proud to announce our collaboration with The University of Sunderland on a research project that aims to improve patient nutritional support following bariatric surgery in the UK.
University of Sunderland – UK leading bariatric centre
Sunderland City Hospital is one of the leading bariatric surgery centres in the UK. Bariatric surgical procedures are performed to facilitate weight loss in obese individuals with a BMI above 40, or for those with a BMI between 35 - 40 who have health problems such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Bariatric procedures include stomach stapling, gastric bypasses, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric band maintenance.
It is now well established that all bariatric procedures affect nutritional intake and some may significantly reduce macronutrient and micronutrient absorption.
New nutrition guidance for GPs
In response to the nutritional impact of bariatric surgery, The British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS), a professional society of surgeons involved in obesity management, issued their first GP guidance in August 2014 entitled: Management of nutrition following a bariatric surgery.
In summary, the latest BOMSS nutrition guidance recommends bariatric patients:
✓ Stay on lifelong nutritional supplements
✓ Have lifelong monitoring of their nutritional status
✓ Take a daily high dose multivitamin and mineral supplement along with additional vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D and iron where necessary, to prevent the significant long-term effects of micronutrient deficiencies
The guidelines are much needed and vitally useful, however many patients simply aren’t aware of them due to a lack of education:
• Anyone who has undergone bariatric surgery after BOMSS guidance in August 2014 is likely to have been educated about these issues
• Anyone who’s had bariatric surgery before BOMSS guidance in August 2014 however, will likely be unaware of these recommendations
• This new research aims to address this key issue of patient education after bariatric surgery
About the research collaboration
This research project is funded by Nutri Advanced Ltd and is led by Dr Yitka Graham, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Researcher in Bariatric Surgery, University of Sunderland and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Lindes Callejas-Dias, Specialist Bariatric Pharmacist, Nim de Alwis, Consultant Diabetologist and Bariatric Physician, Peter Small, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon and Kamal Mahawar, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon.
The main aims of the research study are:
1) To establish routes to educate patients post-bariatric surgery (especially those who had bariatric surgery before August 2014)
2) To ascertain the potential role of community pharmacists in post-bariatric patient nutrient support
Engaging with community pharmacists
Community pharmacists have been identified as a valuable way to educate bariatric patients, because they are crucial to any neighbourhood’s local health and will most likely have frequent ongoing contact with bariatric patients. They are often one of the first health points of contact for families, which is why recognising the extent of their importance and understanding their role is key to their involvement in public health. The numerous advice and interventions they offer such as stopping smoking and weight management services are able to help people in communities. However, currently, community pharmacists do not play an active or defined role in post-bariatric support, and given the above situation this may be an area for development.
A mixed methods approach will be used for this study. All community pharmacies in the Sunderland area will be approached to participate. Pharmacists will be asked to take part in a confidential, face to face semi-structured interview about their involvement with bariatric patients, knowledge levels of the support needs of bariatric surgical patients including micro-nutrition, and their views on their potential role as part of a multi-disciplinary patient support pathway.
Basic descriptive statistics will be used for quantitative data analysis. The findings will be submitted for publication in bariatric surgical journals and presented at bariatric surgical conferences. The work will also facilitate a vehicle to engage in discussion with BOMSS, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and NHS England to explore the possibilities of pharmacies becoming involved in this process in the near future.
Mike Wakeman, Pharmacist and Research & Development consultant at Nutri Advanced said,
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Sunderland on this research project. Patient nutritional support post-bariatric surgery is crucial yet often neglected, mainly due to lack of patient education before the new BOMSS guidance was issued. Finding ways to increase patient awareness and implement this in the wider community are highly valuable aims.”
…We’ll keep you updated on how the research is progressing, so watch this space!
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