WHAT NUTRITION INFORMATION ARE DIETITIANS USING WITH THEIR PATIENTS WHO HAVE TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Introduction Dietitians offer specialist evidence-based dietary advice to their patients. Dietary advice for people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) including written nutrition information (NI) is a key component of the management plan. The aim of the project was to investigate the NI used by dietitians with people with T2DM. Methods An online ad hoc questionnaire exploring whether dietitians produced NI, whether they have had training in the production, any patient involvement in the production, other sources of NIs, factors affecting choice of NIs used and the provision of NIs to other healthcare professionals (HCPs) was developed and pre-piloted. Individual dietitians and departments with dietitians who were working with people with T2DM across England were emailed a link to an online questionnaire. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Hertfordshire. Results All 93 respondents used NIs in their consultations. The main sources were a national diabetes charity and a national provider of nutrition information. The main reason given for their use was that the information met the needs of patients. Two thirds of respondents also used NIs produced by their own departments. However almost 40% reported not having any training in the production of NIs and only 10% involved patients in their development. Over 80% of respondents also supplied HCPs with information; nurses and GPs being the main recipients. Conclusions, discussion and/or practical application Dietitians are using evidence-based information and in ensuring HCPs who work with people with T2DM have access to appropriate resources. However their lack of access to training in the development of NIs and in involving patients may limit the effectiveness of resources developed by their own departments. Dietitians could benefit from training in the development of NIs and should be encouraged to involve patients in the development process.