Integrating nutrition services into primary care: Experience in Hamilton, Ont.
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PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: Nutrition services can have an important role in prevention and management of many conditions seen by family physicians, but access to these services in primary care is limited. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To integrate specialized nutrition services into the offices of family physicians in Hamilton, Ont, in order to improve patient access to those services, to expand the range of problems seen in primary care, and to increase collaboration between family physicians and registered dietitians. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Registered dietitians were integrated into the offices of 80 family physicians. In collaboration with physicians, they assessed, treated, and consulted on a variety of nutrition-related problems. A central management team coordinated the dietitians' activities. CONCLUSION: Registered dietitians can augment and complement family physicians' activities in preventing, assessing, and treating nutrition-related problems. This model of shared care can be applied to integrating other specialized services into primary care practices.