Living Well: Nutrition counseling is beneficial for many types of medical issues
From chronic disease to food allergies to weight-related issues, many individuals could benefit from one-on-one nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian.
In these nutrition counseling sessions, nutrition experts provide patients with tips and education to help improve the patient’s nutrition.
“Counseling is very individualized and does play off of the patient’s specific goals, medical status, medical history, food preferences, readiness to change, etc.,” said Madysen Jourgensen, registered dietitian at Memorial Regional Health. “Many different diseases warrant counseling, such as diabetes Type 1 and 2, kidney disease, heart disease, heart failure, prediabetes, gastrointestinal issues and more. Those who would like to lose weight or gain weight can also benefit from nutrition counseling, as well as those with multiple food allergies significantly impacting their quality of life and food intake.”
MRH offers nutrition counseling both in the inpatient (hospital) setting as well as the outpatient setting at the medical clinic.
Nutrition recommendations are based on current, evidence-based information and take into consideration each individual and their own personal goals. Sessions run anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour depending on the needs of the patient. Follow-up visits are offered for those who need continued support and education.
For more information or to make an appointment with Registered Dietitian Madysen Jourgensen, contact MRH at 970-824-9411.
When to see a dietitian
It’s common for a primary care physician to refer patients to nutrition counseling who might benefit from it, but Jourgensen said any time a medical professional tells a patient to follow a special diet, this is also a good time to seek nutrition counseling.
The dietitian can help patients understand certain diet prescriptions. For patients who face challenges that are inhibiting or negatively impacting eating habits — such as feeling like you can’t eat anything at all without breaking diet rules, or accidentally ingesting an allergen — Jourgensen said nutrition counseling can help.
- • You need help managing diabetes, high blood pressure or other chronic diseases.
- • You’re thinking of having or have had gastric bypass surgery.
- • You have digestive problems.
- You’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant or a new mom.
- Your teenager has issues with food and eating heathfully.
- You need to gain or lose weight.
- You’re caring for an aging parent.
- You want practical lifestyle advice.
- You want to improve your performance in fitness or sports.
- You realize the need to feed your family healthier foods but you do not cook.
- Visit eatright.org for more information about nutrition.
- Source: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
How nutrition counseling works
Patients either self-refer for nutrition counseling services or they’re referred by a medical provider. Once they come in for these services, they’ll receive individualized recommendations and meal plans based on their current medical status or their own specific treatment goals, Jourgensen said.
The patient will receive an individualized meal plan during the initial visit. Continued follow-up is especially important for successful nutrition counseling, she said.
“Upon follow-up, things can be adjusted and challenges to the meal plan can be appropriately addressed to continue fine-tuning the nutrition prescription until it’s something that works for the patient,” Jourgensen said. “Consulting a nutrition professional can be intimidating and sometimes scary; however, these nutrition counseling sessions promote a very individualized and nonjudgmental environment in which the patient drives the nutrition conversation. My goal is to make patients feel as comfortable as possible while providing them with the best nutrition information that I can.”