When to Refer Patients to Dietitians?

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Dietetic teams can help healthcare professionals achieve positive results much quicker. Often, patients are identified as malnourished but not recommended to dietitians. Patients who have to stay in hospitals and nursing homes are given dietetic care as well; thus, heal faster. Similarly, patients who don’t stay in hospitals can benefit a lot from following therapeutic diets as part of their medical treatments, irrespective of the condition. Doctors mustn’t wait till their patients are unable to eat/drink without using feeding-tubes. Instead, they should recommend ‘nutrition interventions.’

What are Nutrition Interventions?
Dietitians don’t diagnose medical problems or eating habits. They follow the diagnoses created by healthcare professionals, create a plan to meet the nutritional objectives necessary for the success of the diagnoses, and then work intimately with patients to ensure they meet these requirements. They accommodate the patients’ symptoms and even eating preferences. Making dietary changes that bring about positive outcomes is challenging but possible with the right dietitians and timely nutrition interventions.

When is a Referral to a Dietitian Necessary?
Healthcare professionals don’t make too many dietitian referrals because most patients don’t think they need nutrition interventions or assistance in achieving their nutritional objectives. However, the long-term impacts of timely nutrition intervention are more important than patient preferences. To eliminate nutrition risks from the treatment, healthcare professionals need dietetic teams to –
• Create day to day food management solutions based on the diagnoses.
• Forecast daily outcomes for the patients to keep them motivated.
• Create plans on how to manage specific nutritional deficiencies.

Here are some conditions and situations where dietitians can greatly impact treatments with efficient nutrition interventions –

Food Allergies or Other Issues with Food
Professional dietitians are trained to address common eating disorders like anorexia, binge-eating, bulimia, etc. Often patients develop subtle allergies to certain food items. Dietitians spot such discrepancies in their diets and help them correct their diet.

Digestive Problems
Professional dietitians work with numerous patients suffering from mechanical issues in their stomachs. These expert dietitians detect food intolerances and make sure patients don’t aggravate their digestive systems. Be it restricting the consumption of fried foods or asking patients to avoid caffeine – professional dietitians help patients take daily steps that improve their digestive health.

Often, patients with digestive issues suffer from weight gain/loss. Dietitians help them recognize healthy calorie sources and prohibit unhealthy sources. They make sustainable changes to their patients’ diets, ensuring they don’t suffer from energy misbalances. Some common conditions that can be alleviated by good digestive health include –

• Malabsorption and malnutrition
• Unintended weight gain/loss or disorderly eating pattern
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Esophageal strictures
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• Cardiovascular issues
• Polycystic ovary syndrome
• Diabetes
• Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Dietitians serve an integral role in making patients alter their eating habits without compromising taste. Their short-term diet changes have long-term impacts.

Pregnancy
Pregnant women’s bodies are desperate for nutrients such as folate. These nutrients lower the risks of diseases in the newborns (e.g., spinal cord defects). Dietitians ensure their patients receive nutrients such as folate, vitamin D, iron, and fluoride. Regular nutrition interventions help pregnant women prepare their bodies for intensive experiences such as breastfeeding or giving birth.

Aging
Rapid aging is more than often caused by improper digestion and unhealthy drug interactions. Professional dietitians help patients alleviate these issues by providing them with proper hydration techniques and crafting special diets that don’t trigger digestive issues. Aging patients usually suffer from hypertension and varying taste buds. Even worse, they receive plenty of misinformation regarding how to ‘age gracefully.’ Dietitians help these adults read labels at supermarkets, invest in simple yet healthy cooking habits, and resist temptations for the long-term good.

Enhance Sports Performances
Dietitians and nutritionists are key clogs in most sporting industries across the world. Suppose a patient want to boost their athletic prowess, either for competitive reasons or to improve their health. In that case, dietitians can help them set realistic goals and create helpful eating habits that can help them achieve results faster.

Visiting a Dietitian
Visiting a dietitian isn’t a complex or nerve-wracking experience. In first appointments, dietitians discuss basic nutritional needs and ask their clients to set individual objectives. Over time, patients feel more comfortable meeting these objectives regularly. The best part of working with dietitians is that they constantly incorporate patients’ feedback into their recommendations. Going on diets can be hard. Dietitians make these processes simple and achievable!