I often hear from a provider “I tried to get my patient to see you, but they declined.” Or, a provider refers a patient to nutrition; the patient agrees, but doesn’t show up for the scheduled appointment. In these cases, the patient is not ready to change. Many people fear change, and are afraid that a nutritionist will want them to completely change their diets, eliminating all their favorite foods. Patients also fear that the nutritionist will chastise them for poor habits. Well, fear not! None of this takes place in a nutrition visit at HealthPoint.
We are here to educate, support and help motivate. A nutrition visit includes listening to the patient, educating, providing suggestions and educational materials, and offering ongoing support in the patient’s quest for better health. I cheer on patients as they make changes, regardless of how small. And, when a patient does not make suggested changes, I encourage them, and we talk about how to work on the next step. Once patients make a change and have a positive outcome – such as weight loss, looser fitting clothes, feeling better, increased energy, reduced blood sugar – they are motivated to continue. It’s fun to share the excitement when a patient learns they can enjoy their food, eat regular meals and lose weight without hunger!
HealthPoint offers a variety of individual and group options for nutrition visits. Individual visits last thirty minutes; groups and classes last one hour. For flat fee patients, group visits and classes are half-price. For diabetes patients, the first individual visit provides patients with a simple, organized and thorough basic education that greatly relieves stress about what and how to eat. A one-month follow-up is advised to answer questions, provide suggestions, and advance education, including carb counting.
Weight loss patients can also choose individual or group visits. It is best for a patient to begin with an individual appointment to get started on healthier eating habits and exercise that fit the patient’s lifestyle. Most weight loss patients need frequent follow-up to keep them motivated. Some prefer individual visits, while others enjoy group interaction. Group visits provide social interaction where patients are motivated and supported by other group members.
Diabetes and weight loss are only examples of nutrition visits. The approach with all patients is the same, and includes listening, education and support. So, you can assure your patient they will not be “chewed out,” and will most likely be pleasantly surprised that they enjoy the visit and are happy about what they learn.