alexa The Dietitians Role in Palliative Care: A Qualitative S
ISSN: 2165-7386

Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine
Open Access

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Research Article

The Dietitians Role in Palliative Care: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Scope and Emerging Competencies for Dietitians in Palliative Care

Pinto IF1*, Pereira JL2, Campos CJ1 and Thompson JL3

1University of Campinas, School of Nursing, Campinas, Brazil

2Division of Palliative Care, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa Medical Chief, Palliative Medicine, Bruyère Continuing Care, Ottawa, Canada

3University of Birmingham, School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, Birmingham, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Isabel Luísa Gomes Ferraz Pinto, MSc, RD
PhD Student, University of Campinas
School of Nursing, Campinas, Brazil
Tel: +55 19 3521-8838
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 02, 2016; Accepted date: March 07, 2016; Published date: March 11, 2016

Citation: Pinto IF, Pereira JL, Campos CJ, Thompson JL (2016) The Dietitian’s Role in Palliative Care: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Scope and Emerging Competencies for Dietitians in Palliative Care. J Palliat Care Med 6:253. doi:10.4172/2165-7386.1000253

Copyright: © 2016 Pinto IF, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: This study aims to explore the thoughts and perspectives of dietitians working in palliative care with respect their roles and contributions.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Seven European dietitians who worked in palliative care services were interviewed.

Results: Dietitians functioned as members of teams and performed activities such as nutritional assessment, formulation and monitoring of nutritional support plans, interfacing with food services, research and training. Dietitians viewed their professional input as positive to the team’s standard of care, patients’ outcomes and sense of comfort, and families’ satisfaction levels. They conveyed the desire to have a stronger and more established presence in palliative care and identified the need to clarify the benefits of their roles to palliative care, and documented a lack of continued professional development and network opportunities.

Conclusion: This study offers useful insights into the unique role of dietitians in specialist palliative across a number of domains, and highlights unique competencies required by dietitians working with this patient population. It also identifies several needs related to professional development. More research is needed to further document not only the roles of dietitians in palliative care, but importantly their impact on patient outcomes.


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