ISSUES: The type of nutritional care provided for an individual varies depending on the findings of the assessment process. The environment, surgery or trauma, food allergies, inadequate access to safe or sufficient food, stage of growth and development, harmful beliefs, lack of knowledge, and socioeconomic issues can all effect whether the individual has an adequate diet. In the healthy individual, omission of a specific food group, or intake of high-energy, nutrient-poor foods does not lead to failed nutritional status overnight. It is the prolonged imbalanced intake that leads to chronic disease.
STRATEGIES: Nutritional care includes four steps, and is the responsibility of each of us, as our own Health Guardian:
- ASSESSMENT- Conduct, record, and maintain a nutrition assessment. To implement a successful nutrition plan, the assessment must include key elements of your clinical or medical history, current situation, anthropometric measurements, biochemical and laboratory values, information on medication and herbal supplement use for potential food-drug interactions, plus a thorough food and nutrition intake history.
- ANALYSIS- Analyze the record data and diagnose constraints. Focus on the biggest nutritional constraint affecting current nutritional intake and overall nutritional status. Analyze factors contributing to the strengthening and weakening of these constraints to determine intervention direction.
- INTERVENTION- Plan and manage a nutrition intervention when needed. This step requires planning and goal setting followed by the selection of interventions that deal with the cause of the nutrition constraint.
- MONITOR- Monitor and evaluate nutritional status, and adjust. This final step is specific to the individual and is related to the signs and symptoms identified in the assessment. This is developed according to the nutrition diagnoses, assessment factors, and outcomes for the individual.
INTERACTIONS: The Health Guardian’s nutrition practices are inter-dependent, while also depending on the proper functioning of the body’s organ systems. Your ‘diet’ is the nutritional “Big Picture”, which conceptually is made up of menus and recipes. These recipes could be thought of as medical formulas, consumed as nutritional “Medicine” for the body over a long period of time. These medical recipes, (RX Recipes) or formulas deliver specific amounts of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients to the body. Herbals play a critical role in facilitating the biochemical mechanisms of our systems, ensuring we get the optimal nutritional values from what we eat. The Nutrient Database provides nutritional information needed to diagnose, analyze, and manage our nutritional health.
WARNINGS: Sophisticated feeding and nourishment procedures place an increased responsibility on those concerned with providing nutrition care. The nutrition-related disorders can be managed by changes in dietary practices based on current knowledge. The goal in all cases is to move the individual along the continuum of disease and health management toward better nutritional health and overall well-being without becoming overly reliant on others for our health.