Patients’ preferences for nutrition-related health outcomes in liver disease : a preliminary study using an electronic questionnaire
Background: Patients with liver disease frequently have nutritional problems but intervening to improve these is challenging. Healthcare interventions that respond to patients’ needs are associated with better health outcomes but no studies investigating patients’ preferences for nutrition-related outcomes in liver disease have been published. The aim of this study was to identify nutrition-related health outcomes that are important to patients with liver disease. Methodology: An electronic questionnaire was devised and reviewed by patients and dietitians with relevant experience. It comprised Likert scale and open questions focussing on six domains considered pertinent to patients with liver disease. An invitation to participate was posted on the website of a national liver charity and sent to liver patient support groups. Results: Fifty-one patients participated (22 men / 29 women). Responses indicated a wide range of preferred nutrition-related outcomes with those identified as very important most frequently focussing on gaining knowledge about which foods to eat more or less of, and on understanding why nutrition is important in liver disease. Women tended to score outcomes as more important than men. Participants who considered themselves overweight scored outcomes on body size and shape as more important than those with other nutritional problems. Additional outcomes were identified and included increased knowledge of healthy eating, interactions between medication and food, and supplementation. Conclusions: The study identified a wide range of nutrition-related outcomes that were important to this small sample of patients with liver disease and these may be useful to guide the direction of future nutrition-related management.