NCP 101

The Nutrition Care Process is a systematic method that dietetics and nutrition professionals use to provide nutrition care.

What is the Nutrition Care Model?

modelThe Nutrition Care Process Model (NCPM) describes the NCP by presenting the workflow of professionals in diverse individual and population care delivery settings. It illustrates the steps of the Nutrition Care Process as well as internal and external factors that impact application of the NCP. Three themes are reflected in the NCPM: use of concise language, promotion of professionals' responsibility for outcomes management, and support for people-centered care (PCC). Screening and referral and outcomes management are also components of the model (and are discussed later in this series of questions).

What is the Nutrition Care Process?

The NCP is a systematic method that dietetics and nutrition professionals use to provide nutrition care and is visually summarized by the Nutrition Care Process Model. Use of the NCP does not mean that all clients get the same care. Use of the nutrition care process provides a framework for professionals to customize care, taking into account the client's needs and values and using the best evidence available to make decisions. Use of the NCP can lead to more efficient and effective care, nutrition research, and greater recognition of the role of dietetics and nutrition professionals in all settings.

Central to the NCP is identification of the client’s nutrition diagnosis (also called nutrition problem) so the most effective nutrition intervention to resolve or mitigate the problem can be used. Professionals express the problems in statements with three components, the problem, etiology, and sign/symptom (PES). Some sample PES statements for individuals and populations are:

  • Inadequate enteral nutrition infusion related to recent initiation of enteral nutrition with ICU admission/mechanical ventilation as evidenced by enteral nutrition providing 40% of energy/protein requirements.
  • Self monitoring deficit related to limited adherence with insulin regimen and blood glucose readings as evidenced by skipping mealtime insulin and no blood glucose values/readings documented.
  • Food and nutrition related knowledge deficit related to recent relocation as evidenced by community survey revealing 40% of population reports not knowing where to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Predicted inadequate energy intake related to medical intervention that is predicted to decrease ability to consume sufficient energy as evidenced by mechanical ventilation therapy, and need for NPO status.
  • Limited access to potable water related to contamination of the water supply as evidenced by community order to use bottled water where 43% of households lack resources to purchase bottled water and 27% lack the ability to transport a sufficient amount of water for daily use.

To access more about the Nutrition Care Process and its terminology, educator resources, case studies for critical care and diabetes, audit tools, and examples of using the NCP in a variety of settings, please see:

Resources for International Dietitians

For more information about International NCPT implementation, visit the eNCPT website and select the International tab.

Additional Resources