How to Write a Nutrition Care Plan

Patients with nutritional problems need a nutrition care plan.
Patients with nutritional problems need a nutrition care plan. (Image: health centre sign. access to health centre image by L. Shat from

If a nutritionist determines a patient to be at risk after the patient’s admission and screening to a hospital or clinic, she will need to write a nutrition care plan designed for that patient. As each patient has different needs, it is impossible to write a nutrition care plan that can help every patient; each patient requires a different plan. However, there still is a set of clear steps that will assist you in your design of a nutrition care plan.

Assess the nutritional needs of the patient. This assessment should take into consideration the patient’s current health issues as well as his risk for potential health issues. You should analyze your patient’s current state of health by clinical or laboratory means.

Calculate the patient’s daily required calories. You can calculate this caloric requirement through many different methods. One popular method is the Harris-Benedict equation, which uses a patient’s basal metabolic rate. You can find this method in the resources section. There are also pre-made calorie calculators online that you can use. Check the resources section for more information.

Determine the method of ingestion. Though oral ingestion, or eating, is the most common way of nutrient intake, you will need to adapt to your patient’s individual situation. If your patient is incapable of feeding himself, you will need to employ another method, for example a nasogastric tube.

Design the patient’s diet. As you have already taken into consideration the patient’s nutritional and energy needs, you can now design the daily diet for that patient. For this step, you should also prescribe supplements that will benefit the patient.

Explain how the patient will adapt to his diet. Here you should discuss how often the patient should eat and how often he should take supplements.

Plan how you will monitor your patient’s nutrition plan. There are many methods that will give you good indications of the patient’s progress. For example, you could use calorie count to assess how closely the patient is adhering to the diet. You could also use other indicators such as frequent weight measurements, which can be later plotted against time to show the general trend of the patient’s progress.

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