When to Consider a Nutrition Referral for Your Behavioral Health Client
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) make great care partners in the behavioral health setting. The RDN credential represents the only nationally trusted and regulated food and nutrition practitioner. Additionally, RDN training includes counseling skills and places a premium on interdisciplinary communication. Medical Nutrition Therapy and the Nutrition Care Process are the framework of the RDN’s diagnostic and therapeutic approach to nutrition-related disease management.
Consider consulting an RDN when your client expresses distress over self management of weight or chronic disease, such as a when newly diagnosed with diabetes or cardiovascular disease. A loss of a spouse can be an opportunity to assess a client’s ability to meet his or her own nutritional needs. Unintentional weight loss is a hallmark sign of clinical malnutrition. On the other hand, weight gain can feed into feelings of shame and inadequacy in those battling depression. Finally, if a client expresses an unhealthy relationship with food, discomfort around the subject of food or body image, or clinical evidence of purging behaviors, a nutrition assessment should be considered.
When a nutrition intervention is warranted it is important to know who to trust. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are the only nutrition practitioners who can offer services covered by CMS and health insurers. They are also the only nutrition providers covered by licensure from the state of Texas. Medical Nutrition Therapy blends clinical nutrition, disease pathophysiology and health behavior into a collaborative patient-centered care model. Teaming with an RDN can enhance the comprehensiveness of care and quality of outcomes in your client.