County of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA

  • Type: Full Time
position filled

Plans and provides nutritional care to patients by interpreting and adapting physician prescribed diets to individual needs and preferences and counsels patients about their food requirements, eating habits, and the essentials of nutrition.

Positions allocable to this class work under the administrative supervision and technical direction of a higher level professional dietary staff member. Incumbents function on either an in-patient ward assignment, an out-patient clinic assignment, or a combination of these two assignments. Dietitians develop nutrition care plans for those patients requiring a modified diet by reviewing physicians diet orders, diagnosis, laboratory test results, and other such data. Positions translate these data into meals which adhere to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, considering such factors as indicated food restrictions, the food available on the hospital master menu, the patient's food preferences, and ability to chew and swallow food. Incumbents counsel patients on an individual and group basis, explaining the nature of their diet and how it affects their medical condition. Incumbents plan and develop sample menus incorporating foods compatible with a patient's diet restrictions and other factors such as the patient's ethnic and cultural background, economic status, and ability to cook and prepare meals in an effort to facilitate adherence to a special diet when the patient is away from the hospital. Dietitians in clinic settings function independently in determining the need for and the scheduling of return visits to reinforce diet instructions and the patient's motivation to follow these instructions. On an in-patient ward assignments incumbents may lead food service workers engaged in ward meal service and related activities by assigning, training, and reviewing their work. Whichever their specific assignment, Dietitians instruct dietetic trainees, student dietitians, dietetic technicians, and others in the various aspects of their work. Essential Job Functions

Develops a nutrition care plan for individual patients by reviewing physician's diagnosis, diet orders, laboratory test results and selecting appropriate foods; calculates quantity of each food serving necessary to provide a nutritionally balanced diet compatible with physician's diagnosis, considering such variables as food availability, food allergies/intolerance, and ability to chew and swallow food.

Interviews patients to obtain detailed diet histories in order to incorporate the patient's normal eating habits into the therapeutic diet plan to the maximum possible extent; records observations and other pertinent information for inclusion in the medical record.

Prepares for patient counseling by reviewing medical chart to obtain such information as physician's diagnosis, diet orders, medication prescribed, allergies and any other data which will aid in communication with the patient.

Confers with other allied health team members, such as physicians, nurses, and mental health professionals, to obtain pertinent information which will aid in communication with the patient and in formulating a nutrition care plan.

Uses Power Chart to document nutritional screening and nutritional assessment interviews with patients.

Counsels patients regarding their dietary needs and the relationship between their illness and diet, and motivates patients to maintain their diets.

Attends hospital rounds and conferences, answering questions on dietary matters raised by members of the inter-disciplinary health team and suggesting diet changes for patients having difficulties such as unexpected weight loss or gain, food allergy reactions, or adverse interaction with drug therapy as a result of a prescribed diet.

Responds to patients' food/dietary complaints and/or requests submitted via the Custody Automated Report Tracking System (CARTS).

Plans, organizes and conducts lectures or leads discussions for groups of patients with similar medical conditions and diet restrictions to motivate these patients to continue on their diets by giving them insight into the importance of diet in the treatment of their medical conditions.

Plans and presents lectures and conducts discussions with community groups and groups of allied health team members on food-related subjects such as normal nutrition and diet therapy as they relate to conditions such as pregnancy, hypertension, and diabetes.

Develops or adapts charts, graphs, written handouts and other visual aids to aid in teaching and counseling activities.

Observes meal service on wards/modules and address patients' comments about food acceptability; informs management about patient complaints and personal observations regarding the quality of the food and the meal service.

Trains food service workers in the performance of a variety of tasks related to the serving of meals.

Plans, develops, and conducts classroom instruction for food service workers on sanitation, safety, and hygiene in connection with food storage, food preparation, patient meal service, and related areas.

Provides on-the-job instruction in the detailed aspects of assignment to dietetic trainees, student dietitians, dietetic technicians, and others.

Conducts Continuous Quality Assurance studies.

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