Dietetic documentation Content, language and the meaning of standardization in Swedish dietitians’ patient record notes

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis was to explore dietetic notes in Swedish patient records regarding content, language and the meaning of standardization.Firstly, an audit instrument for dietetic notes in patient records, Diet-NCP-Audit, was elaborated and tested. The instrument, a 14-item scoring questionnaire based on the four steps of the Nutrition Care Process (NCP), proved to have high content validity and moderate to high inter- and intra-rater reliability. The instrument was then used in an evaluation of the content, language and structure of 147 Swedish dietetic notes. Although the nutrition intervention and some information about the evaluation were well documented, the overall result showed a need for improvement in several aspects of documentation, such as nutrition prescriptions, goals and the connection between problem-etiology-symptom.After this, 30 of the audited dietetic notes were also included in a critical linguistic study exploring how the patients and dietitians were referred to in the notes. The dietetic notes contained several linguistic devices that impersonalized and passivized both the patient and the dietitian. Thus, the grammar of the dietetic notes did not enhance or reflect the patient-centered care and the active patient-caregiver relationship that is emphasized in most health care guidelines today.Finally, a focus group study was performed. Swedish dietitians’ experiences of the standardized Nutrition Care Process (NCP) and its connected terminology (NCPT) were explored and analyzed from the perspective of Habermas’ system and lifeworld concepts. While recognizing many advantages with the NCP and NCPT, dietitians also expressed difficulties in combining the structured and standardized process and terminology with a flexible, patient-centered approach in nutrition care.In summary, I argue that strategies for the improvement of dietetic documentation are needed. I also suggest that the NCP and NCPT play an essential role in dietetic professionalization. At the same time, however, this standardization may entail the risk of a reductionist view and difficulties regarding how to balance the different ideals of health care. Thus, there is a need for discussions concerning how to use and develop the NCP and dietetic language in a way that ensures the best possible care for the patient.

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