A dietary aide is a food service worker who is typically employed by a hospital, nursing home, rehab centre or other assisted living type facility. Many of the patients and residents in these facilities have strict nutritional requirements and diet restrictions and a dietary aide will help ensure they receive the meals prescribed to them. They perform a wide variety of duties to help the entire food service department run smoothly.
Before anyone has eaten a bite, the dietary aide will set up food trays with the beverage, meal and dessert for each resident or patient according to their dietary requirements. She will place the trays on trucks or carts depending on the facility, and in many cases deliver the food to each room. After the meal is completed, the dietary aide will throw out garbage from the trays then return the trays with cutlery and glasses to the kitchen.
In certain facilities such as hospitals, dietary aides will consult with patients about the types of food they like to eat. Together, they will determine food preferences and develop plans to help the patient eat healthier when they return home.
A dietary aide will often observe the patient or resident while they are eating and submit a report to the doctor or dietitian. She will include any problems they've noticed as well as progress that has been made. She may create diet records that analyse all of the food a patient has consumed, or set goals for certain nutrients.
One of the primary duties of a dietary aide is cleaning. She is often responsible for washing dishes after food service, as well as cleaning the kitchen to keep it sanitary and up to health standards. If employed in a facility with a common dining room, the dietary aide will help clear and wipe down tables after service.
Since the primary function of a dietary aide is that of support, she will often be given the job of assisting in various duties around the kitchen. These can include meal preparation, inventory counts, receiving and storing food supplies and ordering equipment.