What is Individualized Nutritional Care?

An opportunity to improve outcomes by focusing on what matters to patients

Individualized nutritional care (INC) is nutritional care that is tailored to a patient’s specific needs, preferences and goals. It is a way of delivering nutritional care that is patient centered and contributes to quality in health care1-3.

A recent publication by Holdoway et al. has focused on defining INC, identifying the existing evidence supporting this concept, and how it can be delivered in nutritional practice4. The publication has proposed four key pillars of INC: what matters to patients, shared decision making, evidence informed multimodal nutritional care and monitoring outcomes4.

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Individualized Nutritional Care for Disease Related Malnutrition: Improving Outcomes by Focusing on What Matters to Patients

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Individualized nutritional care is nutritional care that is tailored to a patient's specific needs, preferences and goals.

The four key pillars of Individualized Nutritional Care are:

What matters to patients

What matters
to patients

Engage in open conversations to understand the patient's experiences, needs, preferences and values

Shared decision making

decision making

Co-create personally relevant goals with patients. Work in partnership with patients to support them in making informed decisions about their nutritional care

Evidence informed multi-modal nutritional care

Evidence informed multi-modal nutritional care

Employ evidence-informed multi-modal nutritional care that meets the patient's needs, preferences and goals based on thorough assessment and diagnosis

Monitoring outcomes


Foster ongoing relationships and continuity of nutritional care, monitor progress towards co-created goals, encourage self-monitoring to support adherence

Optimal intervention, better adherence, improved outcomes

Why Provide Individualized Nutritional Care?

By engaging with patient to understand their needs, preferences and goals, healthcare professionals can identify the optimal nutritional intervention for each patient. Doing so can lead to better adherence to nutritional therapy, and ultimately, improved patient outcomes4.

How can Healthcare Professionals Deliver Individualized Nutritional Care?

The Nutrition Care Process (NCP) is a systematic process used by healthcare professionals, predominantly dietitians, to deliver nutritional care. First adopted by the Academic of Nutrition & Dietetics in the United States, the NCP has been widely adopted or adapted internationally5-8. Although the NCP is predominantly used by dietitians, the principles of the NCP can be used by non-nutrition experts or by nutrition experts for training non-nutrition experts4.

Individualizing nutritional care using the nutrition care process

  • Explore patient's experiences, needs, preferences and values
  • Collect and interpret data (ABCDEF1)
  • Select outcome indicators3
  • Collect, analyse and interpret relevant data
  • Monitor outcome indicators and evaluate progress towards resolution of nutrition diagnosis and patient goals
S h a r e d D e c i s i o n M a k i n g P r o b l e m I d e n t i f i c a t i o n P r o b l e m S o l v i n g

1. Nutritional assessment and reassessment

1. Nutritional assessment and reassessment

2. Nutritional issue or diagnosis

2. Nutritional issue or diagnosis

3. Nutritional planning and intervention

3. Nutritional planning and intervention

4. Nutritional monitoring and evaluation

4. Nutritional monitoring and evaluation
What matters to patients

What matters to patients

  • Identify nutritional problem(s)
  • Determine cause
  • State signs & symptoms
  • Phenotype patients
  • Clearly explain the impact of the medical condition and nutritional diagnosis to motivate individual change.
  • Co-create personally relevant goals2 with patients
  • Determine intervention(s) which can be single or multi-modal
  • Implement actions
  1. Anthropometric, biochemical, clinical, dietary, environmental, economic, functional
  2. Goal = a measurable short term aim set to be achieved by the next consultation or episode of care.
  3. Outcome indicator = a variable, parameter or tool that measures a change in status related to the desired results of nutritional care.

What Evidence is there to Support Individualized Nutritional Care?

There have been an increasing number of studies reporting aspects of individualization to nutritional interventions over the past twenty years. In addition, between 2017-2022, seventeen nutrition guidelines from different internationally recognized professional organizations that focused on the prevention and management of disease-related malnutrition included elements of INC in their recommendations4.

Nutricia is Committed to Helping Healthcare Professionals Deliver Individualized Nutritional Care

Nutricia is committed to supporting an individualized approach to nutritional care. We are dedicated to creating innovations that can meet patient needs, preferences and goals, and investing in evidence that demonstrates the role of medical nutrition in individualized nutritional care. Our diverse, extensive, adult oral nutritional supplements and tube portfolios can help address your patient’s needs, preferences, and goals.

Discover our adult oral and tube portfolio now.

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Nutricia products are food for special medical purposes, for the dietary management of a disease, or a disorder or a medical condition. They must be used under medical supervision.

  1. World Health Organisation (WHO). https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241565561 [22.08.22]
  2. World Health Organisation (WHO). https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241514033 [22.08.2022]
  3. Kuipers et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2019;19:13-22.
  4. Holdoway et al. Nutrients. 2022;14:1-17.
  5. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.ncpro.org/international-collaboration (22.08.2022).
  6. Volkert et al. Clin Nutr. 2019;38;10-47.
  7. Lacey et al. Am. Diet. Assoc. 2003;103:1061-72.
  8. Cederholm et al. Clin. Nutr. 2017;36:49-64.

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