Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nutrition Prescription---is it the bulls-eye or the arrow??

The bulls-eye in the center is the target being aimed at (nutrition prescription), however the arrow (what is implemented) may not always be exactly on target the very first time (either by design or by lack of full understanding of the situation).

The original thinking about the steps in the Nutrition Care Process included a planning portion of the Nutrition Intervention which was referred to as the Nutrition Prescription.  The Nutrition Prescription is intended to "concisely state the patient/client recommended dietary intake of energy and/or selected foods or nutrients based on current reference standards and dietary guidelines and the patient's/client's health condition and nutrition diagnosis."

Planning versus Implementing

The Nutrition Prescription is the place in the nutrition care process where the dietitian uses clinical judgement to integrate all the work completed in the nutrition assessment and nutrition diagnosis into a single concept that reflects optimum nutrient and physical activity for the patient...(the bullseye target)
On the other hand the actual intervention of Food and Nutrient Delivery reflects the actual implementation at this moment (usually in an institutionalized setting).  If the dietitian is in a position to PROVIDE the actual food and or beverages (e.g. institutionalized setting or as outpatient provide supplemental nutrient beverages or vitamin/mineral supplements) then they would select the FOOD AND NUTRIENT DELIVERY for the actual products being provided...(this is the arrow).

Time Lag in Implementation

 Another concept that differentiates the two concepts is timing.  In some cases the dietitian may determine the optimal nutrition prescription, however the actual food and nutrient delivery may need to be gradually implemented.

A classic example is that of a patient in an ICU setting where the dietitian determines that the patient needs 2600 KCal from enteral tube feeding as the nutrition prescription, but this needs to be provided by gradually increasing both the strength and rate until the optimal intake is achieved.  The goal is for the two to eventually be the same, but there will be a time during the course of care when they are in fact different for sound clinical reasons.

In other cases there may also be gradual progress toward the optimal nutrition prescription based on principles of making small behavior changes to eventually reach optimal lifestyle habits rather than trying to make ALL the changes at once.

Bottom line...they are closely linked or identical depending on the situation.

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