Nutrition Care Process

The Nutrition Care Process is a systematic approach to providing high-quality nutrition care. It was published as part of the Nutrition Care Model. Use of the NCP does not mean that all patients/clients get the same care; the process provides a framework for the RDN to individualize care, taking into account the patient/client's needs and values and using the best evidence available to make decisions. Other disciplines in healthcare, including nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists have adopted care processes specific to their discipline. 

In 2003, the Academy's House of Delegates adopted the NCP in an effort to provide dietetics professionals with a framework for critical thinking and decision-making. Use of the NCP can lead to more efficient and effective care and greater recognition of the role of dietetic professionals in all care settings. The Nutrition Care Process consists of distinct, interrelated steps:

  • Nutrition Assessment: The RDN collects and documents information such as food or nutrition-related history; biochemical data, medical tests and procedures; anthropometric measurements, nutrition-focused physical findings and client history.
  • Diagnosis: Data collected during the nutrition assessment guides the RDN in selection of the appropriate nutrition diagnosis (i.e., naming the specific problem).
  • Intervention: The RDN then selects the nutrition intervention that will be directed to the root cause (or etiology) of the nutrition problem and aimed at alleviating the signs and symptoms of the diagnosis.
  • Monitoring/Evaluation: The final step of the process is monitoring and evaluation, which the RDN uses to determine if the patient/client has achieved, or is making progress toward, the planned goals.