Illustrated Documents for Healthy Nutrition
Together with dietitians working at healthcare centres (primary care centres), lecturers and students of the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences have developed documents for dietetic consultation.
Consultation, Instruction and Support for Specific Disease Patterns
A colourful “meal plate” is supposed to help people eat healthy on a daily basis. Table displays feature the recurrent theme.
By establishing primary care centres in Lower Austria, the local healthcare system created a new field of activity for dietitians. In these centres, patients profit from the twofold support and knowledge offered by general practitioners and experts of other health professions.
“A focus of the dietetic work carried out in these institutions is on the outpatient support – in other words, consultation, instruction and accompaniment – of people with dietetically relevant disease patterns. In order to accomplish these tasks in an efficient and patient-friendly manner, dietitians need evidence-based, didactically processed and visually appealing consultation documents”, explains Gabriele Karner, Academic Director of the study programme Dietetics at the St. Pölten UAS.
As dietitians spend most of their working hours in direct patient care, they have hardly any time left to develop such documents on their own. This is where students and lecturers of the St. Pölten UAS – subsidised by the Lower Austrian Healthcare and Social Fund (NÖGUS) and in cooperation with the primary care centres St. Pölten Harland and Böheimkirchen – came in and developed clear and descriptive documents that are to be made available to all dietitians in the German-speaking area in future.
“Thanks to the close collaboration between different health professions and physicians, healthcare centres and networks provide patients with comprehensive care. The four primary care centres in Lower Austria already show the important role played by dietitians in this context”, emphasises NÖGUS Chairman Martin Eichtinger.
Balanced Meal Plate
One of the outcomes is the “balanced meal plate”, an easy-to-understand and graphically appealing consultation aid. Patients can take it home as a reminder and put it up in a clearly visible place, for example in the kitchen. The document is not designed as a self-explanatory brochure but is adjusted to the patient’s individual situation by a dietitian within an advisory context. This makes it a highly useable document for the patient.
“A healthy, balanced diet plays a decisive role in preventing a multitude of non-communicable diseases. More and more patients who come to our practices have a lot of questions and in most cases, they know little about the nutritional therapy that fits their disease”, explains UAS lecturer Johann Grassl, a co-developer of the consultation document.
Often, however, it is the other way round: the patients have gathered an abundance of information from the internet, articles in magazines, TV and radio reports, or “good advice” from other people – and now they find it hard to put this flood of information into perspective and adapt it to their own needs. Well-structured counselling in combination with appropriate materials can be helpful to correctly evaluate information already known and new.
The balanced meal plate shows portion sizes both in household measures (such as “palm-sized” or “tablespoon”) and grammes. Different meal components like carbohydrates as satiating side dishes, protein sources or fruit and vegetables are highlighted in colour so they are more easily recognised.
“Recent displays of nationally recommended intakes from other countries deliberately contain no exact information concerning consumption quantities in grammes. Instead, they send clearly understandable messages: e.g., to eat more vegetables and less processed meat”, says UAS lecturer Ursula Hemetek. For example, a healthy diet should contain no more than three portions of meat per week.
Special Documents for Specific Disease Patterns
Within the framework of the project, the Dietetics students Marion Hauser and Patricia Teubel were involved in the development of presentation displays showing the right diets for different disease patterns. The materials are supposed to help people suffering from, e.g., fructose malabsorption, histamine intolerance or wheat sensitivity find the type of diet that suits their condition.
The documents were developed in close cooperation with the dietitians Tanja Schmoll from the primary care centre (PVZ) St. Pölten Harland and Regina Gattinger from the PVZ Böheimkirchen.
The project was subsidised by the Lower Austrian Healthcare and Social Fund (NÖGUS).
Access to Consulting Documents
The printing proofs of the documents are passed on to dietitians free of charge.