What to expect when seeing a dietitian is a question we get asked by prospective patients all the time. Many people don’t know what to expect within the appointment or even what indicates needing to see a dietitian.
When should you see a dietitian?
Individuals are commonly referred to see a dietitian by their doctor, others are recommended by a friend who has seen a dietitian and had a great experience.
It can be confusing to know what a dietitian does and can offer, especially because there are so many different dietary recommendations on social media. You may even think that a dietitian does the same thing as an influencer on social media. A dietitian is very different from the common Instagram influencer for a number of reasons.
A dietitian works with you and your goals in order to support you to make healthy choices and better understand your health or particular medical condition. A dietitian will empower their patients in order to assist them in achieving their long term health goals without having to follow any fad diets. The dietary advice provided by a dietitian is backed by scientific evidence and a dietitian will tailor their recommendations to you, your goals, taste preferences, and lifestyle.
A dietitian can help you reach your nutrition goals in a healthy and sustainable way
Areas that a dietitian can assist you in
- General healthy eating
- Nutrition for mental health
- Food intolerances and allergies
- Management of gut issues e.g. IBS
- Management of coeliac disease and IBD
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Eating for bone, kidney, and liver health
- Management of diabetes
- Eating for cardiovascular health
- Eating for weight loss, weight loss surgery, and weight gain
- Managing reflux
- Eating well during pregnancy and lactation
- Infant and toddler eating
- Food preparation
- Management of eating disorders and distorted eating
- Eating to improve fertility
- Eating for hormonal health
- Management of endometriosis and PCOS
- Learning how to read food labels when shopping and how to choose the best options when eating out
- Eating to optimise sports performance
- Eating well when on a texture modified food/ thickened fluid diet
- Management/prevention of malnutrition.
There are many different reasons to see a dietitian. These reasons may be guided by your healthcare professional, your blood test results, your GPs opinion, or even by you wanting to take initiative to gain a better understanding of what you should be consuming to optimise your health and reach your goals.
What to expect from seeing a dietitian
Prior to your first appointment
When you book your initial dietetic appointment, you will be sent a new patient form to fill inbefore coming to your appointment. This will help us to get to know you better before our first consultation. This form includes questions about your medical history and what you are hoping to achieve from working together.
During your first appointment
During your initial consultation, we will spend time discussing your medical history, any symptoms you may be experiencing, your daily activity, lifestyle habits, and your dietary habits. We will go through any recent test results, your regular cooking and shopping habits, as well as what you eat/drink from the moment you wake up to before you go to bed. We will then discuss your goals and discuss strategies that we can put in place in order to work towards achieving your goals. These strategies may include specific changes to your current food intake or education around a certain aspect of nutrition. The recommendations and strategies will be tailored to you, your goals, and your lifestyle. The most important part of our initial appointment is that you discuss your biggest concerns around your health and goals so that we can tailor your appointments to you and reaching these goals.
How long is an appointment
Your initial appointment will be for 60 minutes to allow enough time to conduct a thorough history, goal setting, and discuss initial nutrition strategies. Follow up appointments will range from 30-45 minutes and will involve more tailored nutrition education and recommendations.
How many times, and how frequently will we see you?
This is very much dependent on your personal needs, goals, and the reason you have come to see us. However, in saying that regular reviews with your dietitian have been shown to improve compliance and assist you in achieving better health outcomes compared to if you were to do it on your own. A follow-up appointment is essential in order to provide you with all of the relevant information and practical advice that you need to achieve your health goals. Follow up appointments will build on the knowledge and education you are already familiar with and will be tailored to your specific goals. Together we will also discuss your treatment plan to ensure you understand why and when we want to see you. During your first or second consultation, you will be provided with a dietetic management plan which will detail your goals and how many appointments are expected in order to reach your goals as well as the type of education that will be provided over the course of these appointments.
For example, a patient with a new diagnosis of IBS would likely require 5-6 appointments. These would include an initial assessment where a thorough history is taken and then subsequent appointments to discuss education around dietary changes required to manage symptoms, recommendations around modifying your current diet, resources to assist in eliminating trigger foods, determining triggers, and reintroducing foods into your daily intake.
Initially, we would recommend appointments every 2 weeks to ensure optimal client outcomes, assist with motivation, accountability, and assessment of dietary changes. After the first 2-3 appointments, it is likely review appointments will occur every 4-6 weeks when working around challenging foods and the reintroduction of foods to create a personalised low FODMAP diet. This however is dependent on your individual requirements.
If you have been referred by your GP you may be eligible for a medicare rebate, or you may be eligible for a private health rebate depending on your private health fund.
If you have any questions about dietetics, appointments, or how a dietitian may help you feel free to give us a call or book an appointment with our dietitian today!
DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG POST IS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL ONLY. IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A REGISTERED AND QUALIFIED DOCTOR OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.