The ketogenic diet is a precise and carefully calculated medical diet, and starting the diet can be difficult and challenging. In order for the diet to be successful, a number of key healthcare professionals with a multidisciplinary team approach is required:
- Neurologist with a special interest in epilepsy and experience with the ketogenic diet
- Specialist Dietitian trained in the ketogenic diet
- Ideally a Clinical Nurse Specialist with experience in epilepsy or neurology
This special team of healthcare professionals work together to be able to provide information and support to patients while on the ketogenic diet.
Before a ketogenic diet is started, an evaluation should be conducted by the ketogenic team with the individual and family and/or carer, which will assess the individual’s suitability for dietary treatment. Certain considerations, such as epilepsy syndrome, contraindications, feeding difficulties, other medical conditions (e.g. swallowing difficulties, gastro-oesophageal reflux), enteral feeding (e.g. gastrostomy tube), dietary restrictions and food allergy, will be taken into account during this pre-evaluation phase, which may vary between clinics.
Other key steps will include pre-diet laboratory tests and medical investigations, prior to starting an individual on dietary treatment. It is also important to ensure the individual and family and/or carer are fully informed about the dietary treatment and to manage expectations of the diet.
It is important to highlight, the ketogenic diet may not be appropriate for all individuals with epilepsy. Therefore the suitability of the diet for each individual should be discussed with your healthcare professional team.