Insights from dietitians providing individualised dietetic care to people living with disabilities: A single site exploration in the community

Publication Name

Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics


Background: The present study aims to share insights and lessons learnt by dietitians providing individualised care to people living with disabilities in the community. This is important to build the evidence to inform dietetic best practice standards. Methods: The study involved a cross-sectional data audit of dietitian reports for clients living with a disability seen at a metropolitan dietitian clinic in South Australia. Content analysis of the reports was conducted. Initial coding occurred deductively followed by inductive qualitative content analysis. Results: Thirty-one participants consented to have their dietitian reports included in the study. Intellectual disabilities made up the majority (48%) of disabilities reported in the sample. Nutrition diagnoses predominantly related to energy imbalances (54%). Barriers to dietary change included a reliance on others and limitations in the disability support system. Kitchen skills and cooking were the most often employed nutrition strategy suggested by dietitians. Following dietetic intervention, improvements were seen in the types of foods people with a disability consumed along with changes to their body weight. Dietitians reported the importance of effective communication with the care team and providing engaging methods to instigate dietary behaviour change. Conclusions: The present study highlights that there are opportunities to build on individualised dietetic care provided to people living with disabilities. These opportunities include addressing excess energy consumption, fostering collaborations with other health providers and understanding how to better work with carers. Further research is required to understand how to progress these opportunities forward and to understand the generalisability of the findings.

Open Access Status

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