Background: Healthcare is changing and the professions that deliver it need to adapt and change too. The aim of this research was to inform the development of a workforce strategy for Dietetics for 2020-2030. This included an understanding of the drivers for change, the views of stakeholders and recommendations to prepare the profession for the future. Methods: The research included three phases: (i) establishing the context which included a literature and document review (environmental scan); (ii) discovering the profession and professional issues using crowd-sourcing technology; and (iii) articulating the vision for the future using appreciative inquiry. Results: The environmental scan described the current status of the dietetic profession, the changing healthcare environment, the context in which dietitians work and what future opportunities exist for the profession. The online conversation facilitated by crowd-sourcing technology asked the question: 'How can dietitians strengthen their future role, influence and impact?' Dietitians and interested stakeholders (726 and 109, respectively) made 6130 contributions. Seven priorities were identified and fed into the appreciative inquiry event. The event bought together 54 dietitians and analysis of the discussions generated five themes: (i) professional identity; (ii) strong foundations-creating structure and direction for the profession; (iii) amplifying visibility and influence; (iv) embracing advances in science and technology; and (v) career advancement and emerging opportunities. Conclusions: A series of recommendations were made for the next steps in moving the workforce to a new future. The future for dietetics looks bright, embracing technology, as well as exploring different ways of working and new opportunities, as this dynamic profession continues to evolve.
Background: There is an increased demand in primary healthcare but general practitioner (GP) numbers are declining, creating significant challenges. Dietitians are ideal professionals to lead the treatment of patients with conditions that are amenable to dietary manipulation, including the management of malnutrition and frailty. The present study evaluated the benefits of a model of care in which a dietitian, working as a first contact practitioner within a general practice, provided care to patients at risk of malnutrition and frailty, aiming to reduce GP workload, improve patient care and make cost savings. Methods: A service evaluation with a dietitian employed 6 h per week for 6 months. The practice database was screened for patients aged ≥65 years and electronic Frailty index 0.26-0.36 or body mass index <19 kg m -2 . These patients were triaged by the dietitian and those at risk of malnutrition offered consultations. Patients prescribed oral nutritional supplements (ONS) and not under dietetic management were also seen. Results: Approximately 1200 patients met the screening criteria; 189 (16%) patients were triaged by the dietitian. Most (75%) were at risk of malnutrition and 63 of these were seen. Improvements in strength, frailty and nutrition status were observed, and changes to ONS prescriptions in 27 patients equated to annual cost savings of £15,379. Patient satisfaction was high. Conclusions: Dietitians, acting as first contact practitioners, can deliver significant improvements in care for older people at risk of malnutrition and frailty as part of the practice multi-disciplinary team. Cost savings for ONS were made and other potential cost saving were evident.
Traditionally, dietitians have worked in acute hospital settings, but many are finding new roles in primary care. This article explains how dietitians can lead treatment in a range of conditions and provide care more effectively then conventional models
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