Why are dietitian services important to home care?
Many home care clients have nutrition-related conditions. A good home care nutrition system contributes to higher quality of life for clients and caregivers by reducing hospital visits, malnutrition and the risk of falls. Of adults admitted to hospital, 45% are malnourished. This could be prevented and treated in the community - and help older Canadians stay healthier in their homes longer - through effective use of home care dietitian services.
What do dietitians do in home care?
Home care is when healthcare services are provided for clients in their home. These services can include nursing, rehab, personal care and nutrition and food services. The goal of home care is to help people maintain their independence and reduce the need for hospital visits and institutional care.
Home care dietitians assess and develop nutrition care plans and monitor patient outcomes, help clients and their families manage food and nutrition issues, and provide evidence-based advice to other members of the home care team.
Advocacy for Dietitian Services in Home Care
Home care is organized in different ways across the country. Some regions do not include dietitians on interprofessional home care teams. In others, staffing is often inadequate to provide optimal nutrition care.
Our goal is to have adequate home care dietitian services available across the country, which DC advocates for through ongoing government engagement, pre-budget submissions and during election campaigns. DC will also continue to meet with decision makers, work with home care providers and collaborate with other health professional associations.
Recent advocacy actions:
October 2018: DC, as a member of HEAL (Organizations for Health Action), contributed to the health policy consensus statement advocating for more interdisciplinary health care, with an emphasis on seniors care (including home care) and mental health.
September 2018: DC sent a congratulatory letter to Minister Tassi on her new appointment as Minister of Seniors and introduces the role of dietitians within the health care system, including home care.
March 2018: DC and members of the Home Care Network completed a pan-Canadian environmental scan of home care settings and access to dietitian services.
September 2016: DC provided input to a National Homecare Plan, stressing the importance of an interprofessional approach in developing a home care plan.
What can you do to get involved in home care advocacy?
Join the Home Care Network
. Members of this network discuss issues, services and strategies for improved home care practice.