The Importance of a Clinical Dietitian to Your Clinical Team

The Importance of a Clinical Dietitian to Your Clinical Team

Ever faced a situation where you were unable to pan out a nutrition plan for your patients because you lacked an expert clinical dietitian on your team? Or have you seen a patient struggle with a treatment plan involving diet modification and  nutrition control because you did not have a clinical dietitian on board?The healthcare industry is beginning to realize the challenges of not having dietitians as an integral part of a clinical treatment team. Adequate Dietitian staffing is important as it has been proven time and again that nutrition care is a fundamental part of a patient’s overall healthcare plan.

Nutrition is the key to good health. In fact, in modern times, nutrition goes beyond flavours and foods - it is the key to preventing and controlling diseases. Be it diabetes or obesity, heart problems, autoimmune disorders or digestive issues, , nutrition has a pivotal role to play in our lives. The food we consume has a direct impact on our health and can either improve or worsen certain health conditions.  Physician nutrition recommendations are typically ignored by patients because of the broadness of such recommendations , in addition to the lack of adequate professional guidance to assist in the implementation of these dietary changes. For example, people with diabetes need a specific nutrition regimen taking into account factors such as amount of dietary fiber needed, number of carbohydrate exchanges suitable per meal, individual activity level and so forth.  Each person is different, and these variables need to be carefully examined by a dietitian-resulting in an individualized plan of care so that the patient will be able to enjoy a healthy, happy life while maintaining control over the disease.. Emerging healthcare trends points to the need of hiring clinical dietitian staff to cope up with the increasing demand of nutrition care, therefore, if you haven’t already thought of hiring a clinical dietitian for your clinical team, it’s the right time to do so.

The Role of a Clinical Dietitian

A clinical dietitian performs a variety of duties that could vary based on the team need and the environmental setup. However, a competent clinical dietitian is able to perform the following core duties:

  • Serves as the primary source of reliable nutrition information for patients, community and staff
  • Serves as the primary source of nutrition care for patients
  •  Assess and identify the nutritional status of patients
  • Develop diet plans and nutrition guides for patients
  • Provide strategies for prevention of diseases through high-quality nutrition care
  • Coordinate with other clinical team members to assess, diagnose, prevent, protect and manage patient’s health within a clinical setting

 A good dietitian is responsible for evaluating the health of their patients  before creating customised nutrition plans based on the patient’s health condition. Clinical dietitians go a step further by providing medical nutrition therapy that includes monitoring tailored diets, reducing risks of developing complications and preventing life-threatening situations caused by consumption of the wrong types of food. Some clinical dieticians even take on additional certifications, , so that they are able to further specialize in treating patients with severely complicated health issues such as those  with End Stage Renal Disease on dialysis, immuno-compromised patients on chemotherapy and infants in the neo-natal intensive care unit. If you are a healthcare provider serious about enhancing the quality of care for your patients, it is absolutely necessary compulsory for you to have a clinical dietitian onboard.

Important Reasons to Hire a Clinical Dietitian

Nutrition and dietetics as a field of science and healthcare has gained prominence over the last few years and there is an increasing demand for nutritionists and clinical dietitians. A clinical dietitian has become a core part of a clinical team-handling the communication between doctor, patient and other team members. They take on the role of counselors and advisors, experts and mentors to help their patients lead a healthy life through consuming the right foods. Apart from all this, there are several important reasons you should hire a dietitian for your team. These include:

Providing Exceptional Nutritional Care

Nutritional care is an important process that has largely been undervalued by patients and health specialists alike. The focus has mostly been on ‘healthcare’ and nutrition care was either taken under the umbrella of healthcare or completely neglected. Fortunately though, health trends show a change in the approach to nutrition. Health specialists, hospitals and clinical teams now realize nutritional care as a process that needs to be implemented along with basic healthcare facilities.

Nutritional care therefore, is a process that is designed to provide customized nutritional solutions to individuals within a clinical setup. It is then necessary for a clinical team to hire a clinical dietitian who is a trained expert to handle the process of nutritional care. The expert would be mapping out a customized nutrition care process for patients, starting from the nutrition assessment of an individual where their eating habits and the relation between food and their health is closely observed. A diagnosis is created after the assessment which then provides the dietitian with the necessary information to formulate nutrition intervention - the process of helping a patient establish a healthy relationship with food through the provision of diet plans, nutrition education and more. The individual’s progress is monitored over a certain period of time and regular feedbacks or intervention techniques are used as needed.

Playing Multiple Roles

A clinical dietitian goes beyond merely creating diet plans. They identify nutrition problems faced by patients, they offer solutions to challenges involving implementation of dietary changes they provide strategies for prevention of diseases and disease management, , they provide guidance in food production ensuring nutritional adequacy of meals, and they continually provide education  on the importance of nutrition. Dietitians are facilitators in the patient’s willingness to maintain a healthy lifestyle and also participate with other physicians and experts to coordinate medical and nutritional needs. In fact, patients may have more interaction and long-term associations with their dietitian than with their doctors or other health specialists. The dietitian in your clinical team can help your patient live a healthy, long-life; which is the goal of every health specialist.

Being the Center of Your Patients’ Wellness

Food is the body’s fuel and is necessary for life Good food can help people recover from diseases, manage their health-conditions and contribute to an overall improved quality of life.  Eating the wrong kinds of food on the other hand, can be an early ticket to the grave, and can cause well executed treatment plans to be in vain. For example, a patient who has just undergone a successful heart surgery can end up in the same predicament or worse-  if they resort to eating high-fat foods. A highly effective clinical dietitian will ensure that the surgery doesn’t go to waste by providing the patient with nutrition education, meal plans, including behavioral modification techniques to their treatment plan, and  may even go a step further by teaching patients new ways to cook foods that are usually considered bland or distasteful.

At the center of your patients’ wellness is a great dietitian and if they are part of your clinical team, you have successfully enabled your patient to live a healthy life. Hiring a great clinical dietitian is the single most effective step you can take to help your patients live a healthier life. If you would like to know more about hiring clinical dietitians, get in touch with Dietitian Careers and let us help you make the right hiring choice.

Case Study: Finding Quality Dietitian Candidates

Case Study: Finding Quality Dietitian Candidates