It can be a challenge to navigate a healthy path through the culinary temptations of the holidays. Luckily, DaVita's team of dietitians is experienced in creating mouthwatering alternatives for people following the kidney diet. Our latest offering, Pumpkin Layer Cheesecake, comes to us from Carey, a DaVita dietitian from North Carolina. Quick and easy to make, this dessert is renal friendly and downright delicious.
We are all products of our environment and Carey is no different. Her fascination with nutrition as a way to shape health was greatly influenced by her upbringing. The product of a family that struggles with obesity and heart disease, Carey was inspired at a young age to become part of the health solution through her study of dietetics.
Raised in the Keystone State, Carey graduated from the coordinated program in nutrition from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation she moved south and eventually joined the DaVita team where she has been employed for more than three years. She says her clinic combines the best of country and city living, adding, "It's rural, but everything one would need is within one hour's drive."
Working with DaVita has taught Carey a lot about chronic kidney disease, particularly the connection between activated vitamin D and its role in helping to reduce calcium in the blood stream, which is an important consideration for dialysis patients.
While it can be challenging at times to coordinate treatment plans with a multi-member health team, Carey says it's always rewarding when she and her crew are successful in "improving a patient's life." She especially enjoys "the relationship [she and her patients] establish."
Carey's approach to patient care is grounded in those relationships. "I employ motivational interviewing techniques and personalized education when working with patients," she says. Carey is a fan of "using positive reinforcement and encouragement" as a way to inspire her patients to "become engaged and involved in their own health care." She also "rewards improvements in phosphorus management with certificates" and other forms of validation.
Part of what helps make her so effective when it comes to connecting with people on a one-to-one level is "being real with them." Patients can't help but respond to her genuine nature. Carey says she "cried with a patient who made the transition from hemodialysis to peritoneal dialysis," which is performed at home, by the patient. "She had been reluctant to try peritoneal dialysis, but once she did, she was able to return to work and be more independent and was so very thankful," Carey notes. "As a side note, the patient now enjoys eating a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, and is so glad she no longer has to limit her potassium."
It's that ability to help her patients see the positive side of things that makes Carey such an effective dietitian. Well, that and her knack at whipping up delicious, kidney friendly desserts, like her Pumpkin Layer Cheesecake.