Nutritional care in the cardiac rehabilitation program
AbstractThere is some evidence of the efficacy of nutritional care in modifying eating habits and behavior in patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation: nutritional care has a relevant role in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The dietitian is the qualified sanitary professional for nutritional care. The aim of this study was to define the role of dietitians within a health care team in programs of cardiac rehabilitation. In this setting, nutritional care starts with a dietary assessment, which includes a measurement of the anthropometric parameters, and a survey of the patient knowledge and eating habits. If there is no need for change in the patient lifestyle, the patient is addressed to the normal cardiac rehabilitation program with no further nutritional intervention except one session of counseling. When lifestyle changes are needed, the dietitian defines, together with the patient, therapeutic aims and expected results. The following phase is represented by group session with patients and their relatives during which nutritional topics are discussed and nutritional education is provided Afterwards, self-monitoring sheets of eating habits are individually discussed in one visit; a last individual visit is used for a final assessment of nutritional knowledge, dietary habits, and anthropometric parameters. In case of unsatisfactory results, patients are invited to participate to three group session to be held biweekly, during which they interact with the dietitian and take part to exercises and group discussions. When the established targets are reached, the nutritional program includes individual follow up visits at six and twelve months for further assessment of medium term results.
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