Exactly what is Comprehensive Nutrition Care?
Comprehensive Nutrition Care is a creative service product that takes a complete approach to nutrition care with the purpose of supporting individuals with chronic or life-threatening disease, and healthcare providers who support them, to better manage their health through optimal nutrition.
The most prevalent disease states afflicting the US population include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Development of these conditions is closely linked to poor nutrition and physical inactivity. In converse, therapeutic lifestyle changes which focus on proper nutrition and physical activity are vital for prevention and management of these conditions. The purpose of Comprehensive Nutrition Care is to offer appropriate levels of self-management support to individuals who desire to become informed and engaged in sustaining positive health behaviors for improved wellbeing and quality of life.
Open Hand services have been expanded to a comprehensive model that also focuses on education and behavior change as key components.
The Comprehensive Nutrition Care service product includes: health-promoting meals formulated for disease management and prevention; a creative “tool box” of nutrition and health education options including web-based, telephonic, group information sharing and interactive self-management support sessions; and Medical Nutrition Therapy, which is provided by registered dietitians to individuals with medical diagnoses who are referred by a primary care provider.
Open Hand, an innovative agency with 20 years of experience providing high-quality nourishing meals to the Atlanta community, is uniquely qualified to execute this pioneering service. Open Hand has been piloting Comprehensive Nutrition Care for two years and has experienced significant results. Full implementation of these services will begin in November of 2007, and will include on-going strengthening and development of collaborative relationships with medical and community service organizations.
CNC Enables Us to Support Healthcare Providers and Community Partners
Studies have shown that if individuals with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or HIV/AIDS become skilled at making proper self-management decisions, their health tends to be better than if they continually struggle with making these decisions. This is where Open Hand plays a vital role, as our dietitians help extend the “reach” of the medical team by helping to orchestrate qualified resources within the health system and the community to provide individuals with additional self-management support.
Open Hand, through our Comprehensive Nutrition Care model, is a community-based agency that is perfectly positioned to assist healthcare providers, case managers and individuals with chronic diseases to achieve the best health outcomes possible.
- Open Hand menus have been carefully developed to target chronic disease management and prevention. While all Open Hand meals are nourishing and satisfying, special meals meet the needs of individuals who require specific dietary modifications to manage conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or abnormal blood fat levels or who have heightened calorie and nutrient needs due to HIV/AIDS or cancer.
- Through nutrition and health education programs, Open Hand provides sound information about health, wellness and chronic disease management and prevention.
- Open Hand RDs provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) which is targeted nutrition care for individuals with medical diagnoses. MNT is closely linked to an individual’s medical care.
CNC is Outcomes-Focused
“Outcomes measurement” is an industry term that healthcare providers and community/social service agencies are very familiar with. For Open Hand, outcomes are indicators of how someone’s health state is changed as a result of care or services they receive.
Outcomes also are indicators of the value and effectiveness of health and disease management programs. Such programs are most effective when they provide information, encouraging skills development and support positive behavior change. Outcomes for such programs should be measured on multiple levels to assess each of the above areas as well as clinical condition and health status change (see diagram).
Nutrition And Health Interventions Help Lead To Improved Outcomes
Providing meals to ensure access to nutritious foods is a core service that Open Hand provides, but this alone is often not enough. Which is why Open Hand services have been expanded to a comprehensive model that also focuses on education and behavior change as key components. When education and behavior change are emphasized along with access to nutritious meals, the added value to OH clients is notable, and our effectiveness at improving nutrition and health outcomes is enhanced. Teaching problem-solving and coping skills can help clients make healthier decisions in challenging situations like dining out at an all-you-can-eat buffet or selecting the healthiest foods from a food pantry.
Someone may know that a side salad is a healthier food choice than fries, but unless they consistently choose to eat salads instead of fries, health improvement will be unlikely. Supporting people in their efforts to practice any positive health and self-management behaviors is imperative because positive health behaviors greatly influence whether clinical and health status improvements will be a resulting outcome.