“If you listen to me properly, I feel good”: A qualitative examination of patient experiences of dietetic consultations

Ruth EE Hancock, Gillie Bonner, Rachel Hollingdale, Angela Madden

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20 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: There is considerable interest in healthcare research regarding communication skills and some debate surrounding the effectiveness of a patient-centred approach to care. Understanding patient experiences of consultations can help indicate how consultations can be modified to improve effectiveness. At present, there is little research exploring patient experience of dietetic consultations. The aim of this project was to achieve a better understanding of patients’ experiences of dietetic consultations using qualitative analysis.
Methods: Patients undergoing consultations with a dietitian were invited to discuss their experience of the consultation with a research dietitian not involved in their care. Individual interviews and focus groups were conducted and analyzed using the Framework approach.
Results: Seventeen patients participated and described experiences of consultations which were varied and influenced by factors such information given (resources, explanation, repetition, consistency), their dietitian’s approach (prescriptive or non-prescriptive, use of behaviours change skills) and behaviour (listening skills, body language) and appointment (expectations, involvement of the multidisciplinary team, length of time) as well as their own internal experience (confidence, guilt, frustration). Patients agreed that certain factors, such as good communication and rapport, receiving effective and reliable information and resources, and non-judgmental, regular support were important factors in creating a positive experience of their consultation. However, they differed in what they believed constituted these factors. Conclusions: Patients like dietitians to adopt a patient-centred approach, which might be either patient- or practitioner-led, and to take account of what they wanted from consultations, adapting these to meet their individual requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-284
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number3
Early online date4 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Behaviour change; consultations; dietitians; patient-centred; patient-perception; patient perspective; patient preferences


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