DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Service Improvement Project:

Nutrition Education Materials at Coler Goldwater

Prepared by Lauren Minchen and Melissa Cannon


Nutrition education materials are important components of a patient’s learning experience. By clarifying abstract concepts and arousing patient interest, nutrition education materials can enhance the overall learning process. Handouts, videos, and other forms of nutrition education materials serve additionally as a source of reference and can easily be shared with a patient’s care giver(s).


Recently Coler-Goldwater has acknowledged that current nutrition education materials are in need of improvement. To address this need, management within the Food and Nutrition Department has prioritized intern time to revamp materials provided to patients. In the past, interns worked to improve materials by developing updated handouts on specific diseases and conditions. Throughout this process additional areas in need of improvement were identified, leading management staff to request a systematic review of the materials provided to patients. Click this link to access a report prepared by both myself of Lauren Minchen, fellow dietetic intern, which details the findings of the review and delineates recommendations for enhancement.


Link to full report:Service Improvement Project_Nutrition Education Materials.doc


Steps (What needs to be done?)


Actions (What did you do?)

1. Identify the Problem: Working with your preceptor(s), identify an area / activity that needs improvement, (i.e.: patient education materials, staff in-services, etc.) or is an area of active inquiry within the facility (i.e.: patient satisfaction surveys, menu analysis, audits of nutrition documentation, etc.)


I was asked to conduct an assessment on the nutrition education materials to provided to patients. (see attached report for more details)

2. Collect the Data: Obtain copies of relevant documents, conduct survey, enter nutrition information, etc. as needed.


I reviewed all materials provided to patients, conducted a survey among dietitians, assessed materials used by other facilities, reviewed statistics of hospital patients to determine language and cultural needs, and spoke with management within the nutrition staff. (see attached report for more details)

3. Analyze the Data: Examine all pertinent information collected and organize into an appropriate format.  Use appropriate statistics as needed.


I conducted a qualitative review of feedback from staff and from my review of available resources and conducted a quantitative review of survey and statistical results. (see attached report for more details)

4. Identify Solutions / Alternatives:  Given what you have found in steps 1 -3 above, what are the possible solutions to the problem identified?  What can be done given the time and resources available?



Enhance materials with graphics and color: Current materials are text based and not appropriate for the literacy level of patients. We recommend strengthening current handouts with more graphics and color to help guide residents in learning the material.


Expand Languages Offered: Materials provided are mostly in English. The hospital should prioritize translation of materials into the following languages: Spanish, Russian, Polish, and Mandarin due to higher patient population. They should also consider translation into the following languages: Arabic, Korean, Tagalog, Haitian, Creole, and Hebrew. There are limited companies that provide nutrition education materials in a variety of different languages. Through our research we were unable to find a company that provided nutrition education materials meeting the language needs of all of Coler-Goldwater’s patients. Primarily English and Spanish materials were found. Although it is possible to purchase nutrition education materials and translate them into different languages, the visual appeal of the materials will be compromised because electronic copies that can be altered are not available for purchase. As a possible solution, below we recommend developing materials specific to Coler-Goldwater patients. This will make the process of translation possible and more cost effective, as well as ensuring the layout of the original document is preserved.


Develop lacking materials: Based on our evaluation above we recommend developing materials for High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Renal, Weight Loss, Mechanical Soft Diet, and Medium CHO Diet in the various languages listed in our language recommendation.


Develop a standardization process: Currently it is standardized that registered dietitians use handouts only when a patient is on Coumadin and when a patient is discharged. We recommend adding instances where a dietitian is required to provide nutrition education handouts. For example, if a patient has uncontrolled fasting blood glucose for a specified period of time; when a patient is gaining undesired weight over a specified time; when a patient’s nutrition assessment is completed. 


House materials in a central location: There appears to be multiple sources for nutrition education materials that the dietitians are pulling from. This can lead to use of materials that are not up to date. Additionally this can lead to the communication of inconsistent information, resulting in a patient feeling confused and unsure. We recommend providing a centralized location to house nutrition education handouts. This will enable easier access, make print materials easier to track, and save the hospital from wasting paper.


Enforce copyright laws: Several materials used by the dietitians are copyrighted. Many of these are located in the Coler and Goldwater diet offices. Coler-Goldwater faces serious copyright issues if the hospital continues to make copies from these documents without obtaining copyright permissions. We recommend that all such materials are legally obtained by Coler-Goldwater and that copyright laws are enforced.

5. Develop a Plan: Based on what you have developed in step 4, what will you doto address the issue identified in step 1?


 Please see attached document for short term and long term next steps.

6. Conduct the Plan / Changes needed: When and how did you carry out the plan? Describe what was done.


 After the assessment was completed all recommendations were presented in the attached report which was presented to management staff. 

7. Evaluate the Outcome(s):  How well did what occurred in step 6 match up to the Plan in step 5?  Did it meet the need identified?  Is there anything that you would have done differently?  What are the next steps for a Continuous Improvement Plan in this area?


At this time I am not aware if the hospital carried out our recommendations to enhance nutrition education materials provided to patients.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.