What does a Dietitian do?

Dietitians have clinical training to advise clients on specific nutritional management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, weight management, cancer, food allergies and intolerance and many others. As well as managing medical conditions through food and nutrition, Dietitians also support clients with healthy eating to nourish their body and improve wellbeing. Advice provided to clients is personalised to their health, lifestyle and goals.

(1) Dietitians assess people’s nutritional needs, taking into account medical history and current health status, correct misinformation and provide appropriate information and skills on

  • healthy food choices and healthy eating
  • reading food labels
  • sort out nutrition fact from myths
  • healthy ways to prepare food

Together with the client  a review appointment is organised to follow-up on how they are progressing and provide additional education and support.

(2) Dietitians have a bigger role than providing nutritional education. They also work together with clients to discuss what outcome they are hoping for and tailor the consultations based on these expectations. They offer practical ways to integrate changes and motivate clients to achieve their health goals.

(3) Dietitians also work with clients to develop their confidence in making dietary and lifestyle changes and increase their success in managing their health.

How is a Dietitian different to a Nutritionist?

While both dietitians and nutritionists provide nutrition guidance, a dietitian (also a nutritionist) is someone who has University qualifications in nutrition and dietetics. Their tertiary studies provide education and training in clinical nutrition and dietary advice, medical nutrition therapy to treat nutrition related health conditions, food service management skills and community health nutrition.

What is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)?

An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) has University qualifications in nutrition and dietetics from a Univeristy accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). APDs undertake ongoing education and training to comply with the Association’s guidelines for best practice.

Do I need a referral to see a Dietitian?

A doctor’s referral is not required for you to see a dietitian, although your health background may help a Dietitian to understand your dietary needs.

 

What is the cost of seeing a Dietitian?

Each Dieitian’s fees vary according to their level of experience and the time spent with the client.

Medicare, Department of Veteran’s Affairs and private health funds, only offer a rebate for services provided by an APD.

If you have a health problem that can be improved with diet, then you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate for up to five sessions with a Dietitian under a Chronic Disease Management Plan. Your GP can tell you if you are eligible. Medicare rebates are also payable for group services for clients with Type 2 diabetes, on referral from a GP.

Most private health funds offer rebates for consultation fees for visits to a private practicing APD. Please contact your health fund to check your eligibility.