The delivery of patient centred dietetic care in subacute rehabilitation units: A scoping review

Miss Hannah Olufson1,2, Dr Adrienne Young2,3, Professor Theresa Green1,2

1Surgical, Treatment & Rehabilitation Service (STARS), Herston, Australia, 2University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia

Patient centred care positively influences individual and organisational outcomes. It is important that dietitians working in rehabilitation units are supported to deliver patient centred care, as effective rehabilitation is a collaborative and patient centred process. In practice however, there is limited guidance on what patient centred nutrition care in rehabilitation units looks like. Consequently, a scoping review was completed to explore the available evidence and relevant characteristics/concepts regarding the delivery of patient centred dietetic care in subacute rehabilitation units, as well as how patient centred care was defined or measured in these studies. PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE and SCOPUS were searched for published literature. Searches for grey and unpublished literature were also completed, with 675 studies identified overall. Identified studies were then assessed using a 2-step process for eligibility based on pre-defined inclusion criteria. Six studies were included in the review. Documentation was lacking regarding conceptualisation and operationalisation of patient centred nutrition care, with only one study providing indicators for patient centred dietetic services. Commonly cited elements of patient centred care were limited to phrases such as ‘individualised care’, ‘tailored advice’, ‘follow-up’, and ‘team collaboration’. Contemporary definitions show that delivery of care which is truly patient centred is far more comprehensive than individualising interventions or organising ongoing services. Thus, this scoping review highlighted a significant gap in the literature regarding the delivery of patient centred dietetic care in subacute rehabilitation units. This raises the question: is the delivery of nutrition care in the subacute rehabilitation sector genuinely patient centred?


Hannah Olufson is an experienced Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and passionate PhD Candidate, who currently works as a dietitian within the new Surgical, Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) dietetic and food services teams in Brisbane, Queensland. Her research interests include improving the delivery of patient centred care, with adults in the public health system, especially in subacute and post acute settings. Hannah commenced her PhD at The University of Queensland in mid-2020 and her doctoral research is focused on exploring the delivery of patient centred nutrition care in subacute rehabilitation units.

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