Patient-centred care to improve dietetic practice

Patient-centred care to improve dietetic practice: an integrative review

Sladdin et al., JHND Early View


Patient-centred care (PCC) is associated with significant improvements in patients’ health outcomes and healthcare systems. There is an opportunity to better understand PCC in dietetics. Thus, the present integrative review aims to critically synthesise literature relating to PCC in dietetics.


A systematic literature search was conducted between February and March 2016. Studies were included if they (i) involved dietitians and/or patients who had participated in an individual dietetic consultation; (ii) related to one or more components of PCC; and (iii) were empirical full-text studies in English, involving adult participants, published between 1997 and 2016. Following title and abstract screening, full texts were retrieved and independently assessed for inclusion by two of the investigators. Two independent investigators conducted data extraction and quality assessment using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Study findings were analysed thematically using meta-synthesis. Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria.


Six themes were discovered inductively: (i) establishing a positive dietitian–patient relationship; (ii) displaying humanistic behaviours; (iii) using effective communication skills; (iv) individualising and adapting care; (v) redistributing power to the patient; and (vi) lacking time for PCC practices. The first three themes were closely related. Studies used a broad range of methodological designs. Limitations of the studies included a lack of reflexivity and a lack of representativeness of the study population.


It is apparent that dietitians require good communication skills and humanistic qualities to build positive relationships with patients. Patients strongly desire individualised nutrition care and greater involvement in care. Ensuring dietitians are able to incorporate patient-centred practises during care requires further research.

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