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Transitioning Care Effectively: A Guide for Expert Level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Working with Clients with Eating Disorders

It is well known in the disordered eating field that transitioning between levels of care can be difficult. Outpatient RDNs play a major role in the client’s transition to and from higher levels of care. Presented here are guidelines and suggestions for facilitating these transitions with the goal of providing optimal care and improving treatment outcomes.

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An Evidence-Based resource from the Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders subunit of SCAN.

It is well known in the disordered eating field that transitioning between levels of care can be difficult. Outpatient RDNs play a major role in the client’s transition to and from higher levels of care. Presented here are guidelines and suggestions for facilitating these transitions with the goal of providing optimal care and improving treatment outcomes. 

Depending on the treatment team, some tasks may be carried out by other team members. These guidelines were created for RDNs with expert level of training and experience as defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. An expert practitioner is an RD who is recognized within the profession and has mastered the highest degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain focus or generalized area of dietetics through additional knowledge, experience, and/or training. An expert practitioner exhibits a set of characteristics that include leadership and vision and demonstrates effectiveness in planning, achieving, evaluating, and communicating targeted outcomes. An expert practitioner may have an expanded or specialist role or both, and may possess an advanced credential, if available, in a focus area of practice. Generally, the practice is more complex, and the practitioner has a high degree of professional autonomy and responsibility1 RDNs with this level of expertise may therefore be involved in helping individuals or institutions navigate critical pathways in the health care system, creating policies and procedures for individuals and institutions and ensuring that best practice guidelines are met.

While these guidelines, which are supported by the literature,2-4 were developed primarily for transitions to and from residential care, many are also appropriate for transitions relating to intensive outpatient programs.  Use your professional judgment and reach out to experienced disordered eating professionals for support and supervision when needed.

Length: 2 pages, double-sided

Intended Audience: RDs, Healthcare Professionals

Key Words: In-Patient, Out-Patient, Disordered Eating, Eating Disorders, Transitioning, Levels of Care, Treatment Outcomes, Treatment Team

Written by SCAN registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) to provide nutrition guidance. The key to optimal meal planning is individualization. Contact a SCAN RDN for personalized nutrition plans. Access “Find a SCAN RDN” at www.scandpg.org or by phone at 800.249.2875.

Copyright:  © 2013 Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN)