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Clinical Nutrition

Dietitians are an essential part of the multidisciplinary team. Nutrition care can prevent malnutrition, improve nutritional status as well as improve or decrease the impact of many conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

Registered dietitians (RDs) have expertise in food and nutrition science. They provide consultation, evaluation, and diet instruction in a variety of settings including health care, industry, and government. RDs are professionals qualified to:

  • Assess nutritional needs for individuals and groups of people
  • Provide nutrition advice to prevent and treat disease
  • Educate health professionals and the community
  • Conduct research in food and nutrition science
  • Manage food delivery systems

In order to practice as a registered dietitian in Ontario, membership in the College of Dietitians of Ontario is mandatory. At Mount Sinai Hospital, membership in the Dietitians of Canada (DC) is strongly encouraged. Membership in other Canadian or American professional groups (e.g. Canadian Diabetes Association) is voluntary.

Registered Dietitian vs. Diet Technician vs. Nutritionist

Who do you turn to when you need nutrition advice? Nutrition and health information is available in many different places. Health care professionals specializing in nutrition science are the best source of nutrition information. The following is an explanation of the professionals who could be giving you nutrition advice.

The titles "registered dietitian" and "dietitian" are often used interchangeably and are protected by the Health Professionals Act. Only those who have met the national standards can use these titles. To identify a registered dietitian, look for theses initials after the professional's name: RD, RDN, P.Dt., Dt.P., and R.Dt.

In the Hospital, clinical diet technicians work in consultation with the clinical dietitian in order to provide optimal nutrition care to patients. The law does not protect this title, and as a result the qualifications vary among hospitals and individuals. Our clinical technicians have an education in nutrition science and/or nutrition management.

The term "nutritionist" is not a professionally regulated term in all provinces. That means there are no minimum qualifications for individuals to call themselves "nutritionists". In Canada, some dietitians may call themselves "nutritionists", but a "nutritionist" cannot call himself or herself a dietitian.

Dietitians at Mount Sinai Hospital are qualified RDs who work in both clinical and administrative areas

Clinical Dietitian

The team of clinical dietitians at Mount Sinai Hospital is dedicated to providing leading-edge nutrition care to patients and the community. Clinical dietitians and technicians work with the medical team to develop and implement nutrition care plans.

Dietitians are an essential part of the multidisciplinary team. Nutrition care can prevent malnutrition, improve nutritional status as well as improve or decrease the impact of many conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity.

The clinical dietitian is responsible for the assessment of the nutritional status of patients with a medical condition, illness, or injury that puts them at nutritional risk. This includes review and analysis of medical and diet history, laboratory values, and nutrition physical examination. Based on the assessment, an appropriate nutrition plan is conceived to manage the condition, treat the illness or injury. It can include the following:

  • Diet modification and counseling leading to the development of personal diet plans to achieve nutritional goals and desired health outcomes.
  • Specialized nutrition therapies including supplementation with medical foods or vitamins and minerals for those unable to obtain adequate nutrients through food only; nutrition delivered via tube feeding into the gastrointestinal tract for those unable to ingest or digest food; and parenteral nutrition delivered via intravenous infusion.

In the Hospital, clinical diet technicians understand the principles of normal nutrition and can apply this knowledge in developing nutrition care plans. They assist patients in selecting appropriate foods for their specific needs by understanding food preferences, monitoring food/nutrition supplement intake, performing some diet instructions and conducting meal rounds. Technicians also perform a variety of food service functions to ensure that patients receive timely, accurate and appropriate meal trays. 

Appointments with Dietitians at Mount Sinai Hospital

Outpatient dietitians only see patients with a physician referral. A Mount Sinai Hospital physician is required to make the referral.

Depending on the medical condition, inpatients may be visited by a dietitian during their admission. If you are an inpatient and would like to see a dietitian, please speak to a member of your health care team.

What to Expect During an Appointment with the Dietitian

The first visit with the dietitian is an opportunity for both of you to get to know each other. At this time the dietitian will perform a nutritional assessment. You will be asked about the types of foods you eat and other lifestyle choices. You and your dietitian will develop a nutritional care plan based on your individual nutritional needs as well as your lifestyle and goals.

The initial visit lasts approximately one hour. The need and frequency of additional visits will be determined at this time. One visit is often enough for a patient to get the information they require. However, some patients require follow-up visits to assess how well they are doing with their nutrition program.